Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the most controversial mental illness diagnoses in Psychology today. There are several different theories as to why an individual develops Borderline Personality Disorder and how it should be treated (or even if it can be treated).

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

While people with Borderline Personality Disorder are often funny, witty, intelligent, and the life of the party, they are also known for their inconsistent behavior and often chaotic lifestyle.

There are a number of different definitions of Borderline Personality Disorder but most agree it can include:

  • a fear of being abandoned or alone which can lead to frantic efforts to avoid such a state of being
  • intense and unstable relationships which swing between idealization and devaluation
  • unstable self-image or sense of self
  • impulsivity (e.g., substance abuse, reckless sexual encounters, binge eating, reckless driving, extreme spending)
  • suicidal or self-mutilating thoughts or behaviors
  • extremely unstable moods that last from a few hours to a few days
  • inappropriate or overwhelming anger and rage
  • transient, stress-related paranoia or dissociative symptoms
  • hypersensitivity to nonverbal communication and expression

For more information, visit the National Institute of Mental Health's article on Borderline Personality Disorder.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (p.710, 2000).
National Institute of Mental Health. Borderline Personality Disorder: Raising questions, finding answers. Bethesda (MD).

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