Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious psychiatric condition. A personality disorder is a general term for an abnormal, lifelong pattern of behavior and thoughts. People with a borderline personality are unstable in their self-image, moods, behavior, and relationships with others.
No one knows what causes borderline personality disorder. The disorder may be associated with abnormalities in the structures and pathways in the brain that regulate emotion.
People with borderline personality disorder may have the following characteristics: chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom. They may shift from one activity to another in order to fill the emptiness.discomfort with being alone. They may even fake an illness to prevent someone from leaving.impulsive behavior. They may drive recklessly, shoplift, and have episodes of binge eating.intense and unstable relationships with others. They may shift back and forth from loving to hating someone or make and break friendships often.intense anger and inability to control it. Someone with this disorder may frequently start fights or arguments.a poor and shifting sense of who they are. For example, they may shift their goals or values constantly.rapid and intense mood swings. For example, a person with BPD may change from total happiness to depression and thoughts of suicide.tendency to harm themselves. This may include suicide attempts or intentional self-harm.
The exact cause of borderline personality disorder is unknown. Most experts believe that the disorder is caused by a combination of the following factors: being a victim of violence, such as rapegenetic factorsa history of child abusea series of traumatic events as a young adultvulnerability to stress
People with BPD are more likely to have other psychiatric disorders, including: alcohol abuseanxiety disordersbipolar disorderdepressiondrug abuseother types of personality disorders
There are no known ways to prevent this condition. A stable and loving home life during childhood is thought to reduce the risk of personality disorders.
Diagnosis of borderline personality disorder begins with a medical history and physical exam. There is no one test that can make the diagnosis. A written survey of symptoms or a psychological test may be used to help make the diagnosis.
Long-term effects are mostly related to the person's behavior. This may include financial, legal, and social problems. A person with BPD may commit suicide, or may engage in risk-taking behavior that results in death unintentionally.
Borderline personality disorder is not contagious. Sometimes, a person with BPD may injure someone else while acting out.
Treatment options for borderline personality disorder have improved greatly in the past few years. Effective treatments include the following: antidepressant medicinesantipsychotic medicines to treat distorted thinkingdialectical behavior therapy, which is a unique combination of behavioral and cognitive therapy designed for people with this disordergroup or individual psychotherapymedicines that stabilize the person's mood
Unfortunately, many people with BPD are not compliant with their treatment plans.
Medicines used to treat the disorder may cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and allergic reactions.
Most people with borderline personality disorder have lifelong problems. As people get older, they often become somewhat more stable. Most people with this disorder need help and therapy for life, if they are willing to accept it.
Regular visits to a therapist are usually advised. Regular blood tests may be ordered to monitor medicine levels. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.
Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 2000, Kaplan et al.