Borderline Personality Disorder

As a retired psychiatric nurse, I can attest to the frustration everyone experiences when dealing with someone diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.  Because this diagnosis is an Axis II diagnosis, it is not as significant as any of the Axis I diagnoses–Major Depression, Bipolar Depression, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, etc.

People who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder often live a very chaotic life with impulsive, negative behaviors and a very unstable mood.  It is very difficult to live with and care for someone with this illness, but it is not impossible.

There has been a major breakthrough in the treatment of borderline personality disorder with the advent of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT for short.  This particular treatment is making headway in helping the persons with borderline personality disorder manage and change their behavior in order to stabilize their actions and thoughts.

I feel that this is the perfect place to give you the information you may need if you suspect you are living with someone with this disorder, or you fear you may have this disorder.  It is a diagnosis that is becoming fairly common in the mental health arena, but that is not to say that it is trivial or unimportant.

These individuals usually are crying out literally for help but the methods they choose are not easy to interpret for the lay-person.  Please read this article from the NIMH and then make use of the other resources they have to offer you.


Borderline Personality Disorder


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with BPD may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last from only a few hours to days.

Some people with BPD also have high rates of co-occurring mental disorders, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders, along with substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal thinking and behaviors, and suicide.

While mental health experts now generally agree that the label “borderline personality disorder” is very misleading, a more accurate term does not exist yet.

Signs and Symptoms

People with borderline personality disorder may experience extreme mood swings and can display uncertainty about who they are. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly.

Other symptoms include:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts
  • Having severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality

Seemingly ordinary events may trigger symptoms. For example, people with borderline personality disorder may feel angry and distressed over minor separations—such as vacations, business trips, or sudden changes of plans—from people to whom they feel close. Studies show that people with this disorder may see anger in an emotionally neutral face and have a stronger reaction to words with negative meanings than people who do not have the disorder.

There is a treasure-trove of useful information as well as the rest of this article here.

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