Common Signs & Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder and get help for yourself or a loved one. Seven Hills Hospital helps individuals struggling with borderline personality disorder build a strong foundation for lasting recovery. Located near Las Vegas, Seven Hills is the leading provider of psychiatric and addiction treatment.

Understanding BPD

Learn About Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that causes the individuals diagnosed with it to have difficulties controlling their emotions, which can lead to a variety of stressful mental and behavioral problems. Those with borderline personality disorder may have a severely distorted self-image and feel worthless. Additionally, their anger, impulsiveness, and frequent mood swings tend to push people away, even though they have a desire to have loving and lasting relationships. While borderline personality disorder is a lifelong disorder, with proper treatment individuals can learn to live satisfying lives. Treatment can help you feel better about yourself and live a more stable and rewarding life.

Statistics

Borderline Personality Disorder Statistics

According to research data, about 1.6% of adults in the United States have borderline personality disorder in any given year. It is believed to be strikingly more prominent in women than it is in men, with studies showing that 75%-90% of all people who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are women. It is possible, however, that these statistics are simply the result of the fact that women are more likely to seek out treatment for BPD than men are.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors of Borderline Personality Disorder

The causes of borderline personality disorder are not exactly known and the research into the possible causes is fairly new. However, most researchers tend to agree that genetic and environmental factors are likely involved. Some of these hypothesized causes include:

Genetics: Studies that have been conducted on twins with borderline personality disorder suggest that this illness is strongly inherited. This means that those individuals who have first degree relatives with borderline personality disorder are ten times more likely to develop the disorder themselves. Other studies indicate that temperament and specific personality traits like aggression and impulsiveness, which are both symptomatic of BPD, are also inherited.

Physical: People suffering from BPD are said to have abnormalities in the specific parts of the brain that affect proper functioning. Those specific pathways and circuits in the brain are responsible for emotional information processing, perception, reasoning, and impulse control. When this functioning system is disrupted, borderline personality disorder may develop.

Environmental: It is also often believed that social or cultural factors may increase the risk for borderline personality disorder. For example, when a person spends a significant amount of time in an environment where there is family instability and a lot of chaos, they may be become more susceptible to developing the characteristics of BPD.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Substance abuse
  • Lack of appropriate parenting / absence of parents during childhood
  • Repeated physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse
  • Chaotic home environment

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

The signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder will vary for each individual, and the severity of these symptoms tends to fluctuate over time. Examples of the signs and symptoms of BPD can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Self-harm
  • Explosive outbursts
  • Inability to control anger
  • “Stormy” relationships, alternating between feelings of devaluation and idealization of loved ones
  • Impulsive risky behavior
  • Excessive / hysterical crying episodes
  • Extreme reactions to perceived abandonment

Physical symptoms:

  • Weight fluctuations as the result of eating disorder behaviors
  • Injuries and scars from self-injuring

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Depersonalization
  • Derealization
  • Dissociation

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Unstable, fluctuating image of self
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Feeling misunderstood, neglected, or alone
  • Feelings of self-hatred and self-loathing
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Lasting Effects

Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder

In many cases, people with borderline personality disorder will suffer from the illness for long periods of time before receiving a proper diagnosis. This disorder, if left untreated, can damage many different areas of an individual’s life. The following are examples of possible long-term effects that untreated BPD can inflict upon a person:

  • Demoralized sense of self
  • Repeated job losses
  • Inability to develop and maintain healthy relationships
  • Broken marriages
  • Chronic self-harming behaviors
  • Depression
  • Alcohol abuse or addiction
  • Frequent hospitalizations
  • Chronic suicidal ideation
  • Death by suicide (It said that 10% of people with borderline personality disorder commit suicide)

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders

It is common for individuals with borderline personality disorder to be diagnosed with other mental health disorders. Some of the most common of these co-occurring disorders include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse or dependency
  • Bipolar disorder

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Borderline Personality Disorder

What are the effects of borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is known to cause many negative outcomes, including the loss of interpersonal relationships, divorce, an inability to maintain steady employment, self-harm, addiction, legal trouble, unplanned pregnancy, health complications, and more.

What are borderline personality disorder symptoms?

When a person has borderline personality disorder, he or she will often present with the following symptoms: risky, frantic, and/or antagonistic behaviors; chronic fear of abandonment; self-harm and/or suicidality; troubled relationships; volatile mood swings; distorted self-image; anxiety; depression; and more.

What causes borderline personality disorder symptoms?

While the precise cause of borderline personality disorder is not known, it is thought to result from a combination of genetic (hereditary) and environmental influences. Therefore, having a close relative, like a sibling or parent, who suffers from a mental health condition may put you at a heightened risk, as will exposure to stressors like abuse or neglect.

What are the borderline personality disorder signs in women?

Women with borderline personality disorder are often emotionally volatile, have chronically unstable relationships, are deeply worried about the perceived risk of abandonment, and may engage in risky behaviors and/or activities that pose a significant threat to their well-being or the well-being of others.

What effects does borderline personality disorder have on the family?

One of the defining features of borderline personality disorder is an inability to form and maintain healthy and dynamic interpersonal boundaries, and this takes a huge toll on relationships. This disorder can cause fractured relationships with family and loved ones, and can sometimes lead to divorce.

What are the borderline personality disorder statistics in the U.S.?

It is estimated that 1.6% of adults living in the United States are suffering from borderline personality disorder in a given year. While not as common as certain mental health concerns such as mood disorders, there are many opportunities to engage with professional treatment if you are struggling with symptoms of this condition.

What are the traits of borderline personality disorder in males?

While more women than men are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, men can also suffer from this condition. Their symptoms often include the following: a series of stormy or dramatic romantic partnerships, high levels of aggression, low frustration tolerance, rapid mood swings, self-harm, and more.

When my son was suffering through borderline personality disorder, we felt like we were losing him as each day passed. The staff at Seven Hills was able to bring him back to us with a series of interventions and treatment plans. Words can't describe how thankful we are to Seven Hills for bringing our son back!

– Diane A.