Disease: Borderline personality disorder


    Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions and impulsiveness.

    With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.

    Borderline personality disorder usually begins by early adulthood. The condition seems to be worse in young adulthood and may gradually get better with age.

    If you have borderline personality disorder, don't get discouraged. Many people with this disorder get better over time with treatment and can learn to live satisfying lives.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave.

    Signs and symptoms may include:

    • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
    • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn't care enough or is cruel
    • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don't exist at all
    • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
    • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
    • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
    • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
    • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
    • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights

    When to see a doctor

    If you're aware that you have any of the signs or symptoms above, talk to your doctor or a mental health provider.

    If you have suicidal thoughts

    If you have fantasies or mental images about hurting yourself or have other suicidal thoughts, get help right away by taking one of these actions:

    • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
    • Call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) any time of day. Use that same number and press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
    • Call your mental health provider, doctor or other health care provider.
    • Reach out to a loved one, close friend, trusted peer or co-worker.
    • Contact someone from your faith community.

    If you notice signs or symptoms in a family member or friend, talk to that person about seeing a doctor or mental health provider. But you can't force someone to seek help. If the relationship causes you significant stress, you may find it helpful to see a therapist yourself.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    As with other mental health disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren't fully understood. In addition to environmental factors — such as a history of child abuse or neglect — borderline personality disorder may be linked to:

    • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited or strongly associated with other mental health disorders among family members.
    • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder, are diagnosed based on a:

    • Detailed interview with your doctor or mental health provider
    • Psychological evaluation that may include completing questionnaires
    • Medical history and exam
    • Discussion of your signs and symptoms

    A diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is usually made in adults, not in children or teenagers. That's because what appear to be signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder may go away as children get older and become more mature.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com


    Borderline personality disorder can damage many areas of your life. It can negatively affect intimate relationships, jobs, school, social activities and self-image, resulting in:

    • Repeated job changes or losses
    • Not completing an education
    • Multiple legal issues, such as jail time
    • Conflict-filled relationships, marital stress or divorce
    • Self-injury, such as cutting or burning, and frequent hospitalizations
    • Involvement in abusive relationships
    • Unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, motor vehicle accidents and physical fights due to impulsive and risky behavior
    • Attempted or completed suicide

    In addition, you may have other mental health disorders, such as:

    • Depression
    • Alcohol or other substance misuse
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Eating disorders
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • Other personality disorders

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Coping and support

    Symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder can be stressful and challenging for you and those around you. You may be aware that your emotions, thoughts and behaviors are self-destructive or damaging, yet you feel unable to manage them.

    In addition to getting professional treatment, you can help manage and cope with your condition if you:

    • Learn about the disorder so that you understand its causes and treatments
    • Learn to recognize what may trigger angry outbursts or impulsive behavior
    • Seek professional help and stick to your treatment plan — attend all therapy sessions and take medications as directed
    • Work with your mental health provider to develop a plan for what to do the next time a crisis occurs
    • Get treatment for related problems, such as substance misuse
    • Consider involving people close to you in your treatment to help them understand and support you
    • Manage intense emotions by practicing coping skills, such as the use of breathing techniques and mindfulness meditation
    • Set limits and boundaries for yourself and others by learning how to appropriately express emotions in a manner that doesn't push others away or trigger abandonment or instability
    • Don't make assumptions about what people are feeling or thinking about you
    • Reach out to others with the disorder to share insights and experiences
    • Build a support system of people who can understand and respect you
    • Keep up a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active and engaging in social activities
    • Don't blame yourself for the disorder, but recognize your responsibility to get it treated

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

    Risk factors

    Some factors related to personality development can increase the risk of developing borderline personality disorder. These include:

    • Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close relative — your mother, father, brother or sister — has the same or a similar disorder.
    • Stressful childhood. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused or neglected during childhood. Some people have lost or were separated from a parent or close caregiver when they were young or had parents or caregivers with substance misuse or other mental health issues. Others have been exposed to hostile conflict and unstable family relationships.

    Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

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