Overview – Borderline personality disorder


Borderline personality disorder is one of a group of conditions called “Cluster B” personality disorders, which involve dramatic and erratic behaviors. Personality disorders are chronic (long-term) dysfunctional behavior patterns that are inflexible, prevalent and lead to social issues and distress.


Many people who live with borderline personality disorder don’t know they have it and may not realize there’s a healthier way to behave and relate to others.


What is the difference between borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder?

While bipolar disorder is also characterized by wide fluctuations in mood and behavior, it’s distinct from borderline personality disorder (BPD).


In BPD, mood and behavior change rapidly in response to significant stress, especially when interacting with other people, whereas in bipolar disorder, moods are more sustained and less reactive. People with bipolar disorder also have significant changes in energy and activity, unlike those with BPD.


Who does borderline personality disorder affect?

Most personality disorders begin in the teen years when your personality further develops and matures. As a result, almost all people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are above the age of 18.


Although anyone can develop BPD, it’s more common if you have a family history of BPD. People with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders, are also at higher risk.


Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are people assigned female at birth (AFAB). Research suggests that people assigned male at birth (AMAB) may be equally affected by BPD, but they may be misdiagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.


How common is borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is relatively rare. Approximately 1.4% of the adult U.S. population has BPD.



What are the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder usually appear in your late teenage years or early adulthood. A troubling event or stressful experience can trigger symptoms or make them worse.


Over time, symptoms usually decrease and may go away completely.


Symptoms can range from manageable to very severe and can include any combination of the following: symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder


Fear of abandonment: It’s common for people with BPD to feel uncomfortable being alone. When people with BPD feel that they’re being abandoned or neglected, they feel intense fear or anger. They might track their loved ones’ whereabouts or stop them from leaving. Or they might push people away before getting too close to avoid rejection.

Unstable, intense relationships: People with BPD find it challenging to keep healthy personal relationships because they tend to change their views of others abruptly and dramatically. They can go from idealizing others to devaluing them quickly and vice versa. Their friendships, marriages and relationships with family members are often chaotic and unstable.