With borderline personality disorder, you experience a severely distorted self-image and feel worthless and even fundamentally flawed. Anger, impulsiveness and regular mood swings can push others away, even though you desire to have loving and lasting relationships.
Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others. People with borderline personality disorders often display or commit risky behaviors.
Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder may include:
- Impulsive behavior, such as risky driving, unsafe sex, gambling sprees or illegal drug use
- Awareness of destructive behavior, including self-injury, and feeling unable to control it
- Wide range of mood swings
- Short but intense episodes of anxiety or depression
- Inappropriate anger and antagonistic behavior, sometimes resulting in physical fights
- Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
- Suicidal behavior
- Feeling misunderstood, neglected, alone, empty or hopeless
- Fear of being alone
- Feelings of self-hate and self-loathing
Exact causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t fully understood although key factor have shown to play a role in the makeup of the disorder. These key factors include;
- Genetics. Studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders can be inherited or highly associated with other mental disorders among family members.
- Environmental factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
- Brain abnormalities. Research has shown some changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. Its apparent that certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.
Borderline personality disorder treatment may include psychotherapy, medications or hospitalization.
Psychotherapy also known as talk therapy is a fundamental treatment approach for borderline personality disorder. Types of psychotherapy that have been found effective include:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT was created specifically to treat borderline personality disorder. Usually done through individual, group and phone counseling, DBT uses a skills-based approach combined with physical and meditation-like exercises to teach you how to be in control of your emotions, tolerate distress and improve relationships.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). With CBT, you work with a mental health counselor (therapist) to become aware of inaccurate, negative or ineffective thoughts; view challenging situations with a better understanding and objectively; and look for and put into practice alternative solution strategies.
- Mentalization-based therapy (MBT). MBT is a type of talk therapy that helps you recognize and separate your own thoughts and feelings from people around you. MBT emphasizes thinking before reacting.
- Schema-focused therapy (SFT). SFT combines therapy approaches to help you assess repetitive life patterns and recurring life themes (schema) so that you can notice positive patterns and change negative ones.
- Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP). Also called psychodynamic psychotherapy, TFP is to help you understand your feelings and interpersonal difficulties by developing a relationship between you and your therapist.