Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Borderline personality disorder is condition characterized by emotional dysregulation, with the affected person having problems with an unstable self-image and disordered ways of interacting and feeling. This leads to a pattern of difficulties with interpersonal relationships. Like many mental health conditions, there is no single known cause of borderline personality disorder. Genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors all may be involved.

Symptoms and signs reflect the disordered thinking and self-image and can include intense and inappropriate anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, loneliness, mood swings, paranoia, sadness, or suicidal thoughts or other thoughts of self-harm. Other associated symptoms can include grandiosity, narcissism, antisocial behavior, compulsive behavior, impulsivity, irritability, risk-taking behavior, self-harm, social isolation, unstable relationships, and insecurity.

Other borderline personality disorder symptoms and signs

  • Anger
  • Antisocial Behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Feelings of Boredom
  • Compulsive Behavior
  • Depression
  • Difficulty Trusting Others
  • Distorted Self-Image
  • Feelings of Unreality
  • Frantic Efforts to Avoid Imagined or Real Abandonment
  • Grandiosity
  • Guilt
  • Hostility
  • Impaired Social Relationships
  • Impulsivity
  • Irritability
  • Lack of Restraint
  • Loneliness
  • Mood Swings
  • Narcissism
  • Risk-Taking Behaviors
  • Sadness
  • Self-Destructive Behaviors
  • Self-Harm
  • Shame
  • Social Isolation
  • Stress-Related Paranoia
  • Suicidal Thoughts


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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.