Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes and Psychology Today

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder that affects the feelings and way of thinking of sufferers. This condition is characterized by an ever-changing and difficult-to-control mood and self-image, as well as impulsive behavior. Find out more about Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Psychology Today.

A person with a personality disorder has a different way of thinking, perspective, and feelings compared to a typical person. This condition often also causes problems in daily life and relationships with others.

About 1–4% of people in the world experience BPD. This disorder generally occurs in late adolescence or young adulthood and is more commonly experienced by women. Even some people undergo symptoms test, quizzes, and others.


What triggers borderline personality disorder?

The exact cause of borderline personality disorder is not yet clearly known. However, some of the factors below are thought to trigger the occurrence of BPD:


Several negative environmental conditions are thought to play a role in causing this personality disorder. Examples include abuse or torture as a child and the loss or abandonment of parents. In addition, poor communication in the family can also increase the risk of BPD performing.


According to some studies, personality disorders can be passed down genetically or from parent to child. So, someone who has a family member with a threshold personality disorder is more at risk of experiencing this condition.

Abnormalities in the brain

Based on research, BPD sufferers have abnormalities in brain structure and function, especially in areas that regulate behavior and emotions. BPD sufferers are also suspected of having abnormalities in the function of brain chemicals that play a role in regulating emotions.

The above factors can indeed increase the risk of BPD. However, that does not mean that someone who has these risk factors will experience BPD. The reason, BPD is also not impossible to experience by someone who does not have any of the above risk factors.


How long does a BPD episode last?

These experiences often lead to spontaneous actions and shaky relationships. A person with BPD may experience episodes of intense anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from just a few hours to days.


Can you have a relationship with borderline personality?

People with BPD threshold personality disorder tend to have great difficulties in relationships, especially with those closest to them. Their wild mood swings, outbursts of anger, chronic abandoned fears, and impulsive and irrational behavior can make loved ones feel helpless, abused, and lose balance.


4 types of borderline personality disorder

Discouraged borderline personality disorder

One of these subtypes is a threshold personality disorder. When a person suffers from a threshold of despair, most of the way they think, feel, and behave is driven by the dependent aspect of their personality disorder. This person shows signs of shared dependence in most relationships in life


Impulsive borderline personality disorder

This BPD-specific subtype is the most charismatic of the four. Impulsive subtypes are said to have a lot in common with histrionic personality disorder, according to some psychologists.

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Petulant borderline

This subtype fluctuates between explosive outbursts of anger and feelings of unworthy or unlovedness. They have a strong need to manipulate or control others, and they become very possessive, resulting in extreme dissatisfaction in their relationships.


Self-destructive borderline

They are so dependent on others, afraid of being left behind that they often walk out of control. Symptoms that often appear in men and women are often moody, bitter, and full of anger they may or may not express.

Do you know of a condition that can also cause persistent feelings of sadness and despair? Find out and find the answer to what is (Dysthymia): Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Test.


Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Causes and Psychology Today


Early signs of borderline personality

Borderline personality disorder can affect relationships with others, self-image, feelings, behaviors, and the way the sufferer thinks. Symptoms usually appear in adolescence before adulthood and persist in adulthood. These symptoms can be mild to severe.

Symptoms of BPD can be classified into four parts, consisting of:

Unstable mood or mood

BPD sufferers can experience a drastic mood swing against themselves, their environment, or those around them for no apparent reason. These mood changes can occur from positive to negative feelings or vice versa.

When experiencing a negative mood, BPD sufferers can feel feelings of anger, emptiness, sadness, worthlessness, shame, panic or fear, and deep loneliness.


Impaired mindset and perception

BPD can cause the sufferer to think that he is bad, guilty, or meaningless. This thought can be lost, thus making the sufferer confused and trying to find justification or defense to those around him to convince him that he is not bad.

Sufferers can also experience hallucinations, such as hearing a voice outside of themselves asking them to hurt themselves. In addition, the sufferer can also have a strong belief in something that does not make sense (delusions), such as the belief that he is pursued by a hitman.


Impulsive behavior

This behavior tends to be self-harming or in the form of careless and irresponsible actions. Examples include self-harm, attempting suicide, having risky sex, drinking alcohol excessively, or gambling without thinking about the risk of losing.


Intense, but unstable relationship

BPD can cause sufferers to be afraid of being ignored by others. However, other times BPD sufferers can also feel uncomfortable or uncomfortable if someone is too close or too attentive. This can damage the relationship of BPD sufferers with others.

Not all BPD sufferers experience all of the above symptoms. Some only have some symptoms. The severity, how often it appears, as well as how long symptoms occur in each sufferer can also vary.

Generally, the symptoms of BPD will subside by themselves as the sufferer ages. Symptoms will usually decrease when the sufferer enters the age of 40 years.


Borderline personality traits in women

  • Paranoid-related stress, it is difficult to distinguish reality and imagination (psychosis) for a few minutes or hours.
  • A long and repetitive empty feeling.
  • Changes in identity and self-image, such as changing values and goals, seeing yourself as a bad person, or feeling not alive.
  • The instability of the relationship with others is intense, as at one time can idolize the person but at other times feel the person is indifferent and evil.
  • Engage in impulsive and risky behaviors, such as gambling, unprotected sex, drug abuse, and so on.
  • The fear of being left behind is overwhelming and repetitive.
  • Thinking of suicide, self-harm when feeling rejected or abandoned.
  • Often lost patience resulting in intense and repetitive anger.
  • Mood swings over several hours or days that include intense feelings of pleasure, annoyance, embarrassment, and anxiety.
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When to see a doctor

Seek medical help immediately or consult a psychiatrist if you have thoughts or desires to injure yourself or even kill yourself.

Check with your doctor if you feel you have the symptoms of BPD mentioned above. Early detection can prevent long-term effects that may arise as a result of this condition.

If you are aware that there are family members or relatives experiencing symptoms of BPD, it is highly recommended to speak to them and take them to the doctor.

Keep in mind that persuading BPD sufferers should be slowly and without coercion. If in this process you feel depressed or stressed, it is advisable to consult an expert, such as a psychologist.


Diagnosis Borderline Personality Disorder

The diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is initiated by the doctor with a question and answer session about the complaints and feelings experienced by the patient. In addition, the doctor will also ask about the medical history of the patient and family, including a history of mental disorders.

To determine the patient’s psychological condition, the doctor may ask the patient to fill out a questionnaire. If needed, the doctor may also perform physical examinations and laboratory examinations to support the diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually only prescribed in adults, not in children or adolescents. This is because the symptoms of BPD in children or adolescents generally gradually improve by themselves as their emotional intelligence develops.


Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

After being diagnosed with BPD, patients should tell their family, friends, or trusted people the diagnosis results. That way, the patient can straighten out any relationship problems that may occur as a result of his behavior.

When people around the patient have been explained, they can also have a better understanding of the patient’s condition and can support the patient to recover. This can make the treatment run more effectively.

Borderline personality disorder treatment aims to help patients know how to manage and overcome the symptoms. Not only that, but the treatment also aims to overcome other mental disorders that often accompany BPD, such as depression and drug abuse.

BPD treatment can be done with psychotherapy and drug administration. However, in more severe conditions, hospital treatment may be required.



Several types of psychotherapy can be used to treat BPD, namely:

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

This therapy is done through dialogue with the aim that the patient can control emotions, accept pressure, and improve relationships with others. DBT can be done individually or in a consulting group.


Mentalization-based therapy (MBT)

This treatment emphasizes the way of thinking before responding. MBT helps BPD patients assess their feelings and thoughts and create a positive perspective of the situation at hand. This therapy also helps the patient to understand the feelings of others and the consequences of their actions on the feelings of others.

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MBT is usually done in the long term, which is about 18 months. Therapy begins with hospitalization so that patients can have individual sessions every day with a psychiatrist. After a certain time, therapy can be continued by outpatient.


Schema-focused therapy

This therapy helps BPD patients realize their unmet needs, which eventually triggers a negative lifestyle. Therapy will focus on fulfilling these needs through healthier ways to build a positive lifestyle.

Just like DBT therapy, schema-focused therapy can be done individually or in groups.


Transference-focused psychotherapy

Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) or psychodynamic therapy helps patients understand the emotions and difficulties they experience in developing relationships with others (interpersonal). TFP is conducted by fostering relationships between patients and therapists. The coaching results can then be applied to the situation being experienced.


Good psychiatric management

This therapy aims to improve the patient’s understanding of the emotional problems that occur by considering the feelings of others. Therapy can be combined with drug administration, group or individual therapy, and counseling in the family.



STEPPS or systems training for emotional predictability and problem-solving is a group therapy that can be done with family members, friends, spouses, or caregivers. This therapy generally lasts for 20 weeks and is usually used as adjunct therapy alongside other psychotherapy.



The use of medications is not to overcome BPD, but rather to reduce symptoms or complications that may arise, such as depression and anxiety disorders. The drug used requires a doctor’s prescription. These drugs include:

  • Antidepressant
  • Antipsychotics
  • Mood balancing drugs


Hospital care

In more serious conditions, such as feeling depressed to tend self-harm or even attempted suicide, BPD patients need to undergo hospital treatment. The treatment will be tailored to the condition and symptoms that the patient is experiencing.

The process of BPD recovery is likely to take a long time and the therapy can last for months to years. Consulting an experienced psychiatrist with BPD can help the patient develop his or her personality in a better direction.


Complications of Borderline Personality Disorder

If not treated appropriately, borderline personality disorder (BPD) risks disrupting various aspects of the patient’s life, such as conflict-ridden relationships that result in severe stress, job loss, unplanned pregnancy or exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, and death by suicide.

Not only that, but BPD sufferers are also at risk of other mental disorders, such as:

  • depression
  • Alcohol abuse or drugs
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


Borderline Personality Disorder Prevention

Borderline personality disorder cannot be prevented completely. However, the risk can be reduced by making the following efforts:

  • Creating a harmonious family environment, especially for children.
  • Ask the child regularly or things he has just experienced, without having to wait for him to tell the story first.
  • Seek support from others when the family’s condition is unstable.
  • Tell a nearby person or psychiatrist when subjected to abuse, abuse, or physical violence.

In addition, early screening when symptoms arise can also be done to prevent the condition from getting worse.

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