A Guide to Borderline Personality Disorders

What if emotions changed in your mind the way the tide does, uncontrolled and frequently. At one point you are on a high, the next you are on a low. This is how it can feel if you have borderline personality disorder. With just that constant shift, everything in your life can be unstable. Beyond your moods and thinking, your identity can change and all of this effects your relationships with those around you.



Fear is felt by a lot of people with borderline personality disorder. Pain, confusion, and sadness also come along with the feeling of fear. It is hard to believe for those with personality disorders but there is hope. A number of effective treatments exist for BPD. You can also develop coping skills that can help even further.



While not meant to be treatment, this guide can help you to start understanding borderline personality disorder, what it entails, and effective treatments.



What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?



Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health diagnosis that involves mood shifts between high and low periods. Those who have BPD feel as if their mood fluctuates on a roller coaster. Often times when their mood changes, so does their likes and dislikes.



Most people with BPD experience extreme sensitivity. A small amount of pain can cause an intense mood shift. Once upset, angered, or in another extreme emotion it can be hard to for someone with borderline personality disorder to return to a calm or neutral state. This makes it very hard for someone with BPD to live what many people would refer to as a normal life.



Constantly changing emotions and feelings can make staying grounded in your mind very difficult. As such, acting out and inappropriate responses are commonplace. After such an incident, it isn’t uncommon to start feeling regret or shame. Sometimes in an extreme way.



The cycle is ongoing and once you start to notice it, you may feel as if the cycle will never end. With treatment and coping mechanisms it can.



Treating Borderline Personality Disorder



If you read old textbook material, you may find that professionals from all specialties had difficulty treating borderline personality disorder. Now we have treatments for borderline personality disorder that can help those with BPD live normal lives. These treatments are so effective that there is a better prognosis for those with BPD than those with depression or bi-polar disorder.



Most patients diagnosed with BPD get significantly better. Often times the treatment works rapidly and changes are noticed immediately.



Identifying Borderline Personality Disorder



Read these following questions, if you identify with more than several of them, you might want to see a professional about borderline personality disorder.



  • You have a feeling of emptiness
  • You have frequent shifts between extreme emotions
  • A constant fear of what others think about you
  • Your romantic relations are unstable yet intense
  • An unexplainable shifting in how you feel about those in your life
  • Often engage in risky behavior of any kind
  • You have engaged in any self-harm activity (i.e. cutting)
  • When you feel unsecure (especially in your relationships) you lash out



9 Symptoms That Those Who Have Borderline Personality Disorder Experience



Fear of Abandonment – Most people with BPD fear being left by those they care about. Small things can trigger the fear of abandonment.



Unstable Relationships – Those who have BPD tend to form quick relationships that start out with intense love then shift toward the opposite. The resulting whiplash can push others away from you.



Unclear and Shifting Image of Self – As a BPD patient’s moods shift, so does their image of self. Leaving them without a clear idea of who they are.



Self-Destructive Behavior and Impulsiveness – Those with BPD tend to want to engage in thrilling, sensation seeking activities that could result in harm. This is common when they are upset or sad.



Self-Harm – Self-harm behaviors such as cutting, hitting, and burning are common among those with BPD. So is suicidal ideation.



Extreme Emotional Swings – BPD keeps emotions constantly churning. Things that most people would brush off tend to cause extreme shifts in how you feel.



Constant Feelings of Emptiness – Because of the lack of stable emotions, those with BPD often feel as if there is a void in them. You might hear them describe it as a feeling of being a nobody.



Explosive Anger – It isn’t uncommon for those with BPD to lash out with extreme anger. The extreme emotions they feel make controlling this difficult.



Suspicion and Disconnect with Reality – For those with BPD reality may seem suspect. Constant changes in emotion make them question what is happening around them. They may feel as if they live in a different reality from those around them.



Common Cooccurring Disorders



BPD comes tied in with a number of other disorders. These often stem from the shifts of emotion or the urges that a patient gets. Sometimes cooccurring disorders can make it hard to make a diagnosis.



  • Anxiety
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Panic Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Substance Abuse (Drugs and Alcohol)



Diagnosing and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder



Diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is similar to many other mental health diagnoses; it requires a professional to make a determination. More than a few conditions can overlap with BPD so a professional will have to perform a screening to rule out other conditions and identify BPD. If you think that you or a family member may have BPD it is best to look for a professional with experience treating and diagnosing BPD.



Therapy and Education



Treatment for BPD typically starts with therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy and schema-focused therapy are two of the most effective therapies. However, along with the therapy will come education about the disorder and help with learning proper social/emotional skills.






Medication may be used to target specific symptoms of BPD or to aid in relieving cooccurring conditions. There is no medication that is specifically approved to treat borderline personality disorder. Research also does not show any specific benefit for medication on BPD itself.



Borderline personality disorder may be something that effects many people’s lives, but it isn’t without treatment. Most people who are diagnosed with BPD are able to feel normal and live healthy lives. It is important to seek help from a mental health professional such as a social worker or therapist if you feel that you or a family member may have borderline personality disorder.