Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a type of personality disorder.  People with BPD exhibit some combination of symptoms that may include unstable moods, erratic/impulsive behavior, intense anger, distorted self-image, extreme reactions to normal situations, and volatile relationships. Depending on the person, it may also present with psychotic episodes as well. This condition, in particular, has the tendency to be accompanied by other disorders including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or even Bipolar Disorder, making it difficult to correctly diagnose in some cases.  There are nine criteria for diagnosis of which an individual needs to meet at least five of the criteria to qualify.

Because nearly 80% of people with BPD have suicidal behaviors and between 4% and 9% actually commit suicide, this is an extremely serious illness that requires a mental health or medical professional to correctly treat, diagnose and monitor*.

Treatment is normally in the form of psychotherapy, or “talk” therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A form of this therapy is called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT, developed by Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., ABPP, at the University of Washington.  It has been found through research to be very effective in helping an individual cope with BPD, smooth out some of the behavioral extremes, and minimize risk of suicide.  There are no FDA-approved drugs to directly treat Borderline Personality Disorder.  However, some drugs may be helpful in controlling symptoms, particularly if they are associated with another condition such as depression or anxiety.

WebPsychology has worked to provide resources and helpful information if you or someone you know is suffering from borderline personality disorder, but it is not intended to replace professional help. That said, even when working with a licensed professional, it can be empowering to learn as much as possible about the disorder and what can be done to treat it.

*National Institute Mental Health


The above summary by WebPsychology