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Symptoms & Diagnosis

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that is characterized by extreme emotional and psychological distress. People who are diagnosed with BPD have difficulty controlling their moods and emotions, and often have ongoing problems with interpersonal relationships, self-image and behavior.

Borderline Personality Disorder is one of 10 diagnosable personality disorders. While it is not as well-known as disorders such as schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder, it is more commonly diagnosed. The disorder may be difficult to spot in those people who have one of the following disorders or symptoms that often co-occur with BPD:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Suicidal ideation

Borderline Personality Disorder typically begins in early adulthood and can lead to instability in personal relationships and one’s family and home life. That is because people who have BPD can experience extreme shifts in mood throughout the day, poor impulse control and distortions of their sense of self.

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

Though BPD has historically been considered a disorder that came with little hope of recovery or promise of stability, advances in the understanding of the disorder and effective BPD treatment options have greatly improved the chances of recovery. BPD is most effectively treated through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which helps people to recover from the disorder through a focus on emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness meditation.

People diagnosed with BPD may also be prescribed antidepressants, mood stabilizers or antipsychotic drugs to help them better manage their symptoms.

For those people who also have a co-occurring disorder, the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder is most effective when individual and group therapy addresses that co-occurring disorder at the same time.

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