But if you find you have more of these ups and downs than those around you, you might find yourself asking whether or not your mood swings are due to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
Are My Mood Swings Normal?
Igor Galynker, MD, PhD, described the main difference between the mood swings of an undiagnosed person and of someone with a mental health diagnosis as a question of “severity and duration.”
“In regular people, the mood swings usually do not interfere with your life,” Galynker wrote in an article on the ABC News website.
A person who does not experience other BPD symptoms can generally still function during a mood swing, can still go to work, make dinner for their family, and operate successfully in the world. For those with Borderline Personality Disorder, intense mood swings can interfere with every aspect of life.
In an article for TIME Magazine titled “The Mystery of Borderline Personality Disorder,” John Cloud writes, “what defines Borderline Personality Disorder – and makes it so explosive – is the sufferers’ inability to calibrate their feelings and behavior.”
In the same article, psychologist Marsha Linehan, a leading expert on BPD, describes it like this: “Borderline individuals are the psychological equivalent of third degree-burn patients. They simply have, so to speak, no emotional skin.”
This means that, if you have Borderline Personality Disorder, your mood swings may be intensified and feel uncontrollable.
Other Symptoms of BPD
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, in order to be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, you must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following symptoms listed in the manual:
- Extreme reactions – including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions – to abandonment, whether real or perceived
- A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
- Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
- Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
- Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats of self-harming behavior, such as cutting
- Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
- Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
- Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
- Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality
It goes without saying that any one of these symptoms alone would be unpleasant, let alone suffering from a recurring pattern of five of them. If your mood swings coincide with a number of the symptoms listed above, you might consider looking into a center that specializes in Borderline Personality Disorder treatment.
A Borderline Personality Disorder treatment center can give you tools for coping and being mindful of what is going on in your mind, body, and emotions. Awareness alone can help you begin to build that emotional skin that you might feel like you are missing so that you no longer experience intense mood swings.