What is borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a specific disorder that affects the mood of a certain person and this then affects how they interact with others. Commonly known as a personality disorder, this particular type of disorder affects how they think, feel, and behave. It affects how you cope with life, relationships, and how you feel emotionally overall. It may get very confusing, tiring, and quite hard to control, it can be a vicious cycle. It’s common that for someone who suffers from BPD that they could possibly develop depression and anxiety.

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Symptoms of BPD

There are four specific groups when it comes to the symptoms of BPD and these include emotional instability, impulsive behavior, having rather disturbed patterns of thinking or perception, and the intensity of unstable relationships with others. There are many signs of BPD and it’s important to keep a lookout for them. Everyone who suffers from BPD will experience it differently, but a lot of the symptoms are very similar in that aspect. There is a huge fear of abandonment that comes with BPD and this constant fear that the ones you love will leave, finding it very hard to be alone.

  • Being impulsive
  • Feeling really bad about yourself
  • Self-harming
  • Controlling your emotions
  • Feeling empty
  • Dissociation
  • Identity confusion
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feeling paranoid
  • Hearing voices or noises when stressed
  • Not having a good relationship with others
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Intense anger

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Like most mental health disorders, there is not an exact reason for it, however, there are definitely certain aspects that can instigate it. Genetics, it is known that you may be more vulnerable to BPD if a close family member also lived with BPD. Brain development, with BPD, often means that the person suffering has smaller or more active parts of the brain. These particular parts of the brain can be affected by growing up, and in relation to that, it can affect your emotions, behavior, and self-control.

Environmental factors, going through certain things like abuse, long-term fear or distress as a child, a bad upbringing, being neglected, growing up with someone who had a serious mental health condition. As well as abusing drugs and alcohol. Brain chemicals, quite often when it comes to talking about mental health conditions as a whole, a lot of the time the cause is the brain and it not getting the chemicals it needs. This is more based on serotonin, which is the chemical that makes you feel happy.

It’s common that you may be more at risk of developing BPD due to hereditary predisposition, meaning you might be at a higher risk of having it if a close relative has or did have it. Stressful childhood is another big factor, sexual or physical abuse or neglect during childhood. Being separated from parents, hostile conflict, and toxic family relationships.

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Complications of BPD

BPD can be a really big burden on your life and can affect many different areas, being your job, relationships, school, socialising, self-image, and much more. This can mean losing jobs easily or having to switch jobs frequently. Attempted suicide and suicidal thoughts constantly, perhaps self-harm. Not having the motivation to do anything, feeling hopeless. Conflict in relationships can be very toxic, having that fear of abandonment and trust issues, having involvement in an abusive relationship.

With BPD it can link to other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, other personality disorders, alcohol or other substance abuse, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Coping with BPD

Having BPD can be a very challenging and stressful time for not only you but the people around you. Even though you may know your behaviors are quite damaging, you feel unable to manage them. There are many things that may help you to cope a little bit better with the BPD, learning about the disorder is always a plus. Learn to recognise your own emotions, what triggers you to be angry, or when the impulsiveness sets in. Talk to those around you, confide in someone, if you can’t do that, reach out to a professional and know you’re not alone.

Managing intense emotions by learning different techniques, such as breathing and mindfulness. Setting boundaries and limits for yourself, trying not to make assumptions about what people are feeling or set thinking about you. Reach out to others, that might be going through the same, keep up with a healthy lifestyle, eat healthy, exercise, and engage in social activities. Don’t blame yourself for your disorder and most importantly always know there is someone there willing to listen.



Most commonly when it comes to a diagnosis, it will be a detailed interview with a doctor or mental health professional. There might be a bunch of questionnaires for evaluation, looking into medical history, discussing certain symptoms. When a diagnosis takes place, it is usually made in adults, very rarely in children. It is often mainly treated using psychotherapy, with the use of medication possibly. The treatment can help you to be able to learn skills that will, in turn, help you to manage and cope with BPD.

Psychotherapy, which is also known as talk therapy, is a great type of treatment for those suffering from BPD. Helping you focus on how you’re feeling, how you function, learning certain ways to help you manage emotions, reducing impulsiveness, learning ways to cope with relationships, and improving them. As well as learning more about BPD as a whole.

There are many types of psychotherapy:

  • Schema-focused therapy- This can be done individually or in a group, helping you identify any unmet needs that might have led to a negative pattern overall.
  • Mentalization-based therapy (MBT)- Helping to identify your own thoughts and the way you’re feeling at that moment in time.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)- This also included group and individual therapy which is specifically designed for BPD. Using DBT skills to approach and teach you how to manage emotions and tolerate stress.


If you’re looking for any online counseling or walk and talk therapy whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children. You yourself need it or you’re a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky. You can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information.

Call MIND on 0845 766 0163 or email info@mind.org.uk

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Words: Karley Myall