Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What other disorders often occur with BPD?

Men with BPD are more likely to also have a substance-use disorder and women with this illness are more likely to suffer from eating disorder. In adolescents, BPD tends to co-occur with more anxious and peculiar personality disorders like schizotypal and passive aggressive personality disorder, respectively. Adults who have antisocial personality disorder, also colloquially called sociopaths, may be more likely to also have BPD. Interestingly, even people who have some symptoms (traits) of BPD but do not meet full diagnostic criteria for the illness can have traits of both BPD and narcissistic personality disorder.

While there has been some controversy as to whether or not BPD is truly its own disorder or a variation of bipolar disorder, research supports the theory that BPD, like virtually every medical or other mental-health disorder, can present in nearly as many unique and complex ways as there are people who have it. In other words, some individuals with BPD will have that disorder alone, while others will have it in combination with bipolar or another mental disorder. Still others will appear to have BPD but really qualify for the diagnosis of bipolar disorder and visa versa.

BPD is not recognized worldwide. It is most closely diagnosed as emotionally unstable personality disorder in the International Classification of Disease, or ICD-10. Although countries like China and India recognize mental disorders that have some symptoms in common with BPD, its existence is not formally recognized.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/7/2016
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