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Recognizing Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline personality disorder symptoms vary from person to person and women are more likely to have this disorder than men. Common symptoms of the disorder include the following:

  • Having an unstable or dysfunctional self-image or a distorted sense of self (how one feels about one’s self)

  • Feelings of isolation, boredom and emptiness

  • Difficulty feeling empathy for others

  • A history of unstable relationships that can change drastically from intense love and idealization to intense hate

  • A persistent fear of abandonment and rejection, including extreme emotional reactions to real and even perceived abandonment

  • Intense, highly changeable moods that can last for several days or for just a few hours

  • Strong feelings of anxiety, worry and depression

  • Impulsive, risky, self-destructive and dangerous behaviors, including reckless driving, drug or alcohol abuse and having unsafe sex

  • Hostility

  • Unstable career plans, goals and aspirations

Many people experience one or more of the above symptoms regularly, but a person with borderline personality disorder will experience many of the symptoms listed above consistently throughout adulthood.

The term “borderline” refers to the fact that people with this condition tend to “border” on being diagnosed with additional mental health conditions in their lifetime, including psychosis.

One of the ironies of this disorder is that people with BPD may crave closeness, but their intense and unstable emotional responses tend to alienate others, causing long-term feelings of isolation.

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