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Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms and Causes

Understanding Mental Health

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition impacting an

individual’s ability to manage emotions marked by mood fluctuations and impulse behaviors. Individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to the world around them, with a tendency to react to small environmental changes. An example includes assuming a family of friends is hateful towards them, while the person may only be slightly annoyed.


It is common to experience other mental health disorders when experiencing BPD, such

as depression, eating disorders, problem gambling, social anxiety, substance use disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

What Are The Symptoms Of Borderline Personality Disorder

Rapid Mood Changes

Individuals with BPD may experience an influx of mood changes relating to how they feel about themselves, their relationship, and their environment (Chapman et al., 2023).

Fear of abandonment

People with BPD feel intense fear or anger when they feel a sense of abandonment,

resulting in engaging in self-destructive behaviour, which is present to ward off anxiety related to the fear of being left alone. Frantic efforts would be placed to avoid the fear of abandonment (Chapman et al., 2023).

Unstable Relationships

Interpersonal relationships may be chaotic and unstable, shifting attitudes from idealizing

a relationship to quickly devaluing it (Chapman et al., 2023). For example, a family member may disappoint the individual and feel enraged immediately when it occurs. This is perpetuated by the presence of dichotomous thinking, black or white or all or nothing approach.

Repeated Self-harm and impulsive behaviours

People with BDP may engage in repeated self-harm and other dangerous behaviours such

as binge eating, substance use, and fighting (Chapman et al., 2023). Unstable relationships cause frustration to emerge, resulting in impulsive conflict and rage. Self-harm behaviours communicate pain and the plea for others to intervene.

Feelings of Emptiness

Experiences intense loneliness and tries to search to fill up the sense of emptiness

(Chapman et al., 2023).


Unpredictable outbursts of rage may be present that are sparked by a threat of

abandonment and disappointment (Chapman et al., 2023).


A presence of dissociative states and paranoid thoughts (Chapman et al., 2023).

Lack of a sense of identity

Individuals with BPD may feel as if they lack a core sense of identity. They reject positive aspects of themselves and adopt self-defeating behaviours (Chapman et al., 2023).

What Are The Causes Of Borderline Personality Disorder

Like many mental health issues, the exact causes of borderline personality disorder remain unknown. However, environmental influences, including experiences of childhood abuse or neglect, which are believed to play a significant role in its development. Additionally, borderline personality disorder may also be associated with:


BPD relates to hereditary disposition and increases the risk of BPD when there is a family

history (Kulacaoglu & Kose, 2018).


Childhood abuse and trauma, including parental loss, neglect, rejections, or physical and

sexual abuse can increase the susceptibility to BPD scarred by emotional deprivation and

chronic abuse (Kulacaoglu & Kose, 2018).

Biology and Environment

Environmental experiences may trigger certain personality and temperamental

characteristics wired in the brain (Kulacaoglu & Kose, 2018).

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

A psychotherapist and client in a psychotherapy session.

Dialectical-behavioural therapy (DBT) is a structured form of psychotherapy using a

combination of psychoeducation, mindfulness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal skills to support the client. DBT was specially designed for individuals with BPD to help reorient and accept the realities of their lives. The basis of techniques strives to control and regulate intense emotions, improve relationships, and reduce self-destructive behaviours (May et al., 2016).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on understanding the relationship between

emotions and thoughts to understand how they affect our actions (Matusiewicz et al., 2010). The goal-oriented approach seeks to unlearn negative thoughts and develop more adaptive thinking patterns.

Group Therapy is a form of psychotherapy to help reduce feelings of being alone and

discuss problems with others feeling the same.

Take the time to learn about BPD to understand what you or your loved one is

experiencing. By offering emotional support, understanding, and patience to yourself and other to support healing.


Chapman, J., Jamil, R. T., and Fleisher, C. (2023). Borderline Personality Disorder.

StatPearls Publishing [Internet].

Kulacaoglu, F. and Kose, S. (2010). Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): In the midst of

vulnerability, chaos, and awe. Brain Sciences. 8(11), 201.

Matusiewicz, A. K., Hopwood, C. J., Banducci, A. N. and Lejues, C. W. (2010). The

effectiveness of cognititve behavioral therapy for personality disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of

North America. 33(3), 657-685.

May, J. M., Richardi, T. M. and Barth, K. S. (2016). Dialectical behavior therapy as

treatment for borderline personality disorder. The Mental Health Clinician. 6(2), 62-67.


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