Borderline Personality Disorder and Suicide: What it Looks Like and How to Help

BPD and suicideSuicide is a subject that makes many people uncomfortable. We don’t like to think that someone we love would ever take their own life.

Unfortunately, if you love someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), this is a subject that bears serious consideration. Not only will around 70 percent of those diagnosed with BPD attempt suicide, but around 8 percent to 10 percent will succeed in taking their own lives.

The rate of suicide for those with Borderline Personality Disorder is higher than that of any other psychiatric disorder, and it is included in the DSM criteria for BPD. For these reasons, if you care for someone who has BPD, it is important to recognize the signs that they may be suicidal.

Borderline Personality Disorder causes such intense negative emotions that those suffering from it frequently engage in risky or impulsive behaviors in an attempt to relieve feelings of distress. BPD is not a short-lived condition, and those who suffer from it can be forced to bear years of unhappiness, instability, and conflict if they are not actively in BPD treatment.

Self-harm, substance abuse, and eating disorders are common among those with BPD and can be seen as ways to alleviate unwanted feelings. Sadly, these co-occurring symptoms can in and of themselves lead to further risk of impulsivity, accidental death, and suicidal behavior.

Warning Signs of Suicide

Here are some key signs that your loved one with Borderline Personality Disorder may be seriously contemplating suicide:

  • Marked change in personality
  • Inability to cope with daily life or problems
  • Change in sleeping or eating patterns
  • No interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Thinking or talking about suicide

Other signs may include a bright and cheery outlook following a period of deep depression or giving away belongings. These types of abnormal behaviors may indicate a resolve to die by suicide.

How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal

If you believe that someone you love may be demonstrating suicidal behavior, whether or not they have Borderline Personality Disorder, there are things you can do to try to intervene:

  • Tell them not to kill themselves (this sounds obvious, but it is often important that the person hears you don’t want them to kill themselves)
  • Ask what emotions your loved one is feeling
  • Validate their emotions and experiences
  • Stay focused on the moment and don’t drag up old issues
  • Communicate your faith in their ability to overcome this crisis
  • Ask how you can help
  • If possible, remove lethal weapons from the home
  • When in doubt, call a professional or 911

Reaching out with compassion, empathy, and an openness to help can be all it takes to move someone from thoughts of suicide to a place of greater hope. However, it is important to keep close tabs on how your loved one is coping and behaving so that you can get professional help if you feel your intervention is not sufficient to prevent a suicide attempt.

If your loved one is struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder and thoughts of suicide, get them needed BPD treatment before those thoughts turn into actions.

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