Learn about the signs, symptoms and causes of borderline personality disorder.
What is borderline personality disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder characterised by intense feelings of anger, depression or anxiety, followed by severe difficulty regulating those emotions. Your patterns of thinking or actions may seem rigid to the point where interferences cause you severe distress. The intense and unstable nature of the condition can alienate sufferers, causing them to feel isolated – and even increase the risk of self-harm and suicide.
The term “borderline” refers to the additional mental health conditions that sufferers often “border” on being diagnosed with.
While a person with depression or bipolar disorder will experience the same mood state for a prolonged period of time, a person with borderline personality disorder may appear to experience “breaks” between their mood swings.
Causes of borderline personality disorder
As with most conditions, there is no single cause of borderline personality disorder.
Genetic and environmental factors, as well as brain chemistry, do play a role in the onset and progression of the condition, which is predominant throughout adolescence.
Borderline personality disorder often improves with age, and impulsive and anti-social behaviours tend to settle by the age of 30 to 40.
Signs and symptoms
Borderline personality disorder is a complex psychiatric condition in which a person has difficulty managing their behavioural, psychological and cognitive impulses. Proper diagnosis is based on a clinical assessment by a mental health professional. Criteria of the disorder may or may not include the following:
Threats or attempts related to suicide or self-harm
Substance use or abuse
Risky sexual behaviour (i.e., unprotected sex, multiple partners, infidelity)
Other risk-taking behaviour (i.e., reckless driving, spending sprees, gambling)