The main feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions.  People with borderline personality disorder are also typically very impulsive.

This disorder occurs in most by early adulthood.  The unstable pattern of interacting with others has often persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions.  The pattern is present in a variety of settings, not just at work or home.  Relationships and the person’s emotion may often be characterized as being shallow.

A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  • Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

If you feel that you or someone you love may be suffering from symptoms of these symptoms, please request an appointment with an iTherapy counselor.

See Also

  • Self-Assessment

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