Borderline Personality Disorder - Symptoms

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What are borderline personality disorder symptoms and signs?

As per the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Treatment Revision) definition, in order to qualify for the diagnosis of BPD, an individual must have at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Unstable self-image, in that they may drastically and rapidly change in the way they perceive their own likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and intrinsic value as a person
  • Unstable relationships, in that individuals with this disorder rapidly, drastically, and often frequently change from seeing another person as nearly perfect (idealizing) to seeing the other person as being virtually worthless (devaluing)
  • Unstable emotions (affects), in that the sufferer experiences marked, rapid changes in feelings (for example, severe anger, joy, euphoria, anxiety, including panic attacks and depression) that are stress related, even if the stresses may be seen as minor or negligible to others
  • Desperate efforts to avoid being abandoned, whether the abandonment is real or imagined
  • Significant impulsivity, in that the person with BPD tends to act before thinking to the point that it is self-damaging (for example, sexual behaviors, spending habits, eating habits, driving behaviors, or in the use of substances)
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors, threats, or attempts
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty managing their anger when it occurs
  • Transient, stress-related paranoia or severe dissociation (lapses in memory)
Return to Borderline Personality Disorder

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Comment from: scared, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 04

I learned a few weeks ago that I have BPD. Since then I've been struggling with the reality of my condition, especially after reading that the treatment can be minimal. I still have hope that I can be a normal, functioning human being one day. As of right now, I suffer from severe depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and most recently BPD. I am a mother and a fianc, and I feel that my family is being greatly affected by my condition. I self-mutilate to the point where I'm afraid to go outside. I'm terrified of being alone. Anything can be a trigger, and I can get extremely aggressive. I'm afraid that I might lose my family. My last hope is to see a psychiatrist in hopes that I can go further than just medication with my treatment.

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Comment from: lost to bpd, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 23

I learned a year ago I have BPD (borderline personality disorder). It's hard to live with. I have been working with a doctor and counselor since then but it's hard to maintain a relationship with them. I drink and know I shouldn't. I feel alone at times and as though my husband doesn't understand me. My life is an emotional roller coaster I feel as though I have no control. I lose my temper often. I feel like there is no hope for me, my mental illness is taking control of me. I ask myself each day what it may bring. I have thoughts of suicide often that my family would be better off without me. One thing stops me, my son who is 17.

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