Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) causes dramatic changes in someone’s moods, behaviors and relationships. Often, people with BPD have a strong desire to be close with someone, but also have an inability to trust that person, so their relationships can be a constant push and pull of “please stay here with me” and “get away from me.” Because people with BPD have a hard time regulating their emotions, they can take impulsive actions driven by extreme shifts in mood, from anger to depression to elation, which can occur within just a few hours. Borderline personality disorder is treatable.

Each person is unique, and should explore their options and select for themselves the most effective coping mechanisms for dealing with BPD. That being said, many people have found successful treatment for borderline through a combination of things including psychotherapy (especially Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT), medication, trauma-sensitive work, spiritual and indigenous practices, and family and partner support. Sometimes extreme stress, leading to a lack of impulse control, can require a person with BPD to take care of themselves by checking into the hospital for safety and support.

Almost half of people who are diagnosed with BPD will not meet the criteria for diagnosis just two years later. Ten years later, 88% of people who were diagnosed with BPD no longer meet the criteria for a diagnosis

American Journal of Psychiatry

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Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women, but recent research suggests that men may be almost as frequently affected by BPD. In the past, men with BPD were often misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression

National Alliance on Mental Illness


A person with borderline personality disorder might think things like:

  • “I’m completely unlovable and unworthy of care or intimacy.”
  • “They didn’t look me in the eye today, so that must mean they hate me and are going to leave me and I’ll never feel good again.”
  • “How could I have said those things to them? I don’t understand how I got so angry.”


A person with borderline personality disorder might feel:

  • Worthless and unworthy of love
  • Fearful of own impulsivity
  • Unfulfilled and insatiable

The highest rates of borderline personality disorder occur between the ages of 18 and 35

Additional Resources

Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center Educational and supportive site promoting extensive learning and emphasis on the importance of understanding the disorder and connecting people to resources.  Go to site
National Institute of Mental Health Extensive information and research transforming the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses for prevention, recovery, and cure. Offers health information specific to age and gender. Go to site
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) For support and family help, with a network through communities around the U.S. for individuals and families struggling with mental health challenges. Contains articles aimed at helping people find resources, get help, and connect with those in similar situations and includes online discussion groups. Offer a number of ways to get involved including NAMI Walks, awareness events and campus groups. Also offer various support groups for grief and bereavement in different areas of the U.S.  Go to site

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