Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex and long-lasting mental disorder. People with BPD often have difficulty managing their emotions or impulses and can be highly sensitive to their surroundings.
BPD is often misdiagnosed as it shares many symptoms with other disorders. It is also very common for someone with BPD to have other mental health disorders, which often mimic or hide the signs of BPD. These may include:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Nine Symptoms of BPD
As defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association, there are nine distinctive symptoms of BPD. You may be diagnosed with BPD if you are experiencing five or more of the nine symptoms.
Emotional Instability- you may experience intense but temporary episodes of anger, depression, anxiety and irritation. Each episode can last from several hours to multiple days.
Inability to manage anger- you may have fits of rage that may be excessive, intense and uncontrollable.
Constant feeling of emptiness- this can also present as frequent episodes of boredom and elicit under-reactive emotional responses.
Impulsive and self-damaging behaviour- you engage in activities that lead to negative consequences either to self and/or others, such as spending sprees, unsafe sexual conduct and substance abuse.
Self-harm or suicidal behaviour- this also includes suicidal threats or gestures.
Distorted self-image- your sense of self is highly dependent on who you’re with
Paranoia or heightened suspicion of others- this manifests in trouble trusting others or a constant fear of others’ intentions. You may also experience dissociative episodes, where you feel like you or your environment is not real.
Intense and constant fear of abandonment- brief separations from friends and family are anxiety-inducing. You may also cut off communication with someone in anticipation of them abandoning you.
Unstable relationships- Your attitude towards others changes dramatically, switching from extreme love to hatred or anger. You have a black and white way of thinking; people are either all good or all bad.
This only serves as a general guideline of BPD symptoms. If you think that you or someone close to you might have BPD, please seek professional diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
Fortunately, BPD is now better recognized, and specialized treatment programs have been established to improve the quality of life of people living with the disorder. With long-term treatment and patience, many people diagnosed with BPD learn to manage and cope with their symptoms effectively.
BPD No More is founded by Dee Chan, a mental health advocate who has lived with BPD for over thirty-five years. She started BPD No More to help those diagnosed with BPD and show them that though it may not be easy, they can recover from BPD too.
If you have been diagnosed with BPD, are currently in therapy or have been in treatment for a while, you can contact Dee here to receive further coaching. You can also join her BPD Skills Learning Support Group on Facebook to join online group sessions.