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Quick Facts

Borderline Personality Disorder

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Oct 2020| Content last modified Oct 2020
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Your personality is your unique way of thinking, understanding, reacting, and relating to people.

What is borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is:

  • A pattern of wildly changing moods, relationships, and behavior

People with borderline personality disorder often:

  • Become panicky or angry when a friend is a few minutes late or cancels an appointment, which makes them feel abandoned

  • Have a quick temper and lash out verbally at friends, partners, and family, particularly when they think someone isn't meeting their high demands for support

  • Shift their views rapidly, such as going from praising someone to suddenly being overly critical

  • Impulsively do unwise things, such as having unsafe sex, overspending, driving recklessly, using drugs, or drinking too much

  • Sabotage themselves when about to reach a goal, such as dropping out of school right before graduation

  • Hurt themselves on purpose, such as by cutting or burning

  • Create crises, such as attempting suicide, to keep other people from abandoning them

Although most self-destructive things they do aren't fatal, almost 1 in 10 people with borderline personality die from suicide.

Even though they're needy, people with borderline personality disorder typically have unstable relationships. They may suddenly go from idolizing a friend to criticizing and dumping them.

What causes borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is probably caused by both:

  • Genes (the genetic information passed to you from your parents)—borderline personality disorder runs in families

  • Stresses during childhood, such as physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or being separated from a parent

How do doctors treat borderline personality disorder?

Doctors treat borderline personality disorder with:

  • Therapy (individual and group)

  • Medicine for mood and anxiety

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
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