Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder characterized by instability in personal relationships, self esteem and emotions. People who suffer from BPD also show a pattern of impulsive behavior. Most people observe BPD symptoms in young adulthood and the condition continues for years. There is no specific cause for BPD. It seems to stem from a number of causes which include biological factors which make a person more vulnerable to this condition, a person’s way of thinking and social triggers like abuse, neglect, etc.
One of the most common BPD symptoms is a fear of being abandoned. People with BPD think that their friends or loved ones will abandon them. They tend to become clingy both emotionally and physically. This can put immense strain on relationships. BPD patients may tend to get angry and upset even when the reason for separation is as simple as going to work or to an appointment. They tend to believe that temporary separation or a change of plans to be together is because they are bad. These people simply cannot tolerate being alone and need to have people around them at all times.
Unstable and intense relationships with lots of conflict are another one of the symptoms of BPD. Their relationships seem to oscillate between extreme love and affection and extreme anger or hatred. Such people tend to demand much from a relationship in the early stages itself. This puts a lot of pressure on the other person involved. However, the initial feelings of admiration may change when the patient feels that he or she is not receiving enough care or empathy from their partner. As a result, there may be frequent arguments, dissensions and relationship break ups.
An unstable identity or self-image is also a common one among BPD symptoms. Sometimes, a person with BPD may feel that he is quite all right. At this time, he feels confident and happy about himself. At other times, the same person may feel worthless and bad. These variations in their self-esteem and personality reflect in their jobs, social relationships and personal relationships. These people tend to switch jobs and goals often and have trouble managing relationships.
People with BPD also tend to show impulsive behavior. In other words, they tend to act before thinking. They tend to go on shopping sprees even when they are on a low budget or tend to drink too much, binge on food, drive recklessly or get into sexual relationships without thinking.
Emotions also tend to be unstable with the patient swinging between highs and lows. At one point on time, he may feel joyful and euphoric and at the next moment, he may feel anxious, irritated and depressed.
A very dangerous one among the BPD symptoms is the tendency to harm oneself. The patient often threatens to commit suicide. This is a way for them to find out if others care. They also tend to harm themselves without the intention of killing themselves. For instance, they may cut themselves or burn themselves by standing too close to fire and so on.
Many people with BPD report feeling empty and devoid of emotions. People have also reported feeling angry for no obvious reason. Some people display more anger than the situation calls for or have a tough time controlling their anger. These people may become sarcastic and get into verbal or physical altercations frequently. Paranoia or treating others with suspicion is also a sign of BPD.
A mental health professional will be able to assess the symptoms and diagnose BPD. This condition can be treated with therapy and medications.