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, Fifth Edition) definition, in order to qualify for the diagnosis of BPD, an individual must have at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Distorted, unstable self-image, in that they may drastically and rapidly change in the way they understand their own likes, dislikes, strengths, challenges, goals, and even their basic value as a person, even to the point of having feelings of worthlessness
  • Repeatedly unstable relationships, in that individuals with this disorder repeatedly, rapidly, and drastically change from seeing another person as nearly perfect (idealizing) to seeing the same person as being bad or nearly worthless (devaluing)
  • Unstable emotions (affects), in that the sufferer experiences marked, rapid mood swings (for example, severe depression, guilt, anger, irritability, joy, euphoria, anxiety, including panic attacks and sadness) that are stress related, even if the stresses may be seen as minor or negligible to others
  • Desperate efforts to avoid loneliness or being abandoned, whether the abandonment is real or imagined
  • Significant impulsivity (the person tends to act before thinking), in at least two aspects that can be self-damaging (for example, sexual behaviors, eating or spending habits, driving behaviors, or in the use of substances)
  • Repeated self-mutilating behaviors, thoughts of suicide, suicidal behaviors, threats, or attempts
  • Chronic, persistent feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense hostility or anger, a lack of restraint or other difficulty managing those emotions when they occur
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociation (lapses in memory)
Return to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Confused, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 15

I experience mood swings throughout the day, I can be very sensitive or very angry at times. I get panic attacks all the time. My job requires public speaking and I freak out in my mind and try to be cool about it but I start to get blurred vision, I feel like I'm never doing a good job. I look in the mirror and I don't like what I see while others see a beautiful woman. I always have to pretend that I'm confident because I don't want to show a sign of weakness. I just hate being me I wish I was normal like other people. I take medication for my borderline personality disorder and it takes some of the edge off but I'm still not normal. I'm embarrassed to say that I have a mental illness. People will just think I'm crazy, I've had childhood trauma and I'm finally feeling like I can be an advocate and talk about my issues I have too many feelings and mood swings and am afraid of relationships, etc.

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Comment from: GARRETT77, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I am weak with explosive diarrhea due to ulcerative colitis, which has caused hypokalemia. My tongue has been tingling and I have a horrible metallic taste in my mouth. My muscles in my legs have also been twitching.

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