Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave.
Signs and symptoms may include:
- An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
- A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn't care enough or is cruel
- Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don't exist at all
- Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
- Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
- Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
- Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
- Ongoing feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights
When to see a doctor
If you're aware that you have any of the signs or symptoms above, talk to your doctor or a mental health provider.
If you notice signs or symptoms in a family member or friend, talk to that person about seeing a doctor or mental health provider. But you can't force someone to seek help. If the relationship causes you significant stress, you may find it helpful to see a therapist yourself.
July 30, 2015
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- Borderline personality disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml. Accessed July 1, 2015.
- Silk KR. Borderline personality disorder: Epidemiology, clinical features, course, assessment, diagnosis, and differential diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 1, 2015.
- Silk KR. Treatment of borderline personality disorder. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 1, 2015.
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- Gonzalez CA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 16, 2015.
- Palmer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 12, 2015.