Person looking into a mirror

The Truth About Borderline Personality Disorder

May 10, 2021

Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is a mental illness that is characterized by mood instability and trouble managing behaviors and emotions. It can affect the way individuals think about themselves and their relationships with others. 

BPD can cause individuals to view things in extremes. They may fear abandonment from family and friends, which can cause instability in relationships. They may have low self-image and may change opinions quickly.

1.4% of U.S. adults are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. People with BPD can and do get better with treatment. 

Symptoms of BPD

Here are the signs you may be experiencing Borderline Personality Disorder:

  • Fears of or efforts to avoid abandonment from family and friends
  • Unstable relationships with others, including going from feeling extreme closeness with another to extreme dislike
  • Unstable self-image 
  • Rapid changes in opinions or values
  • Acting impulsively
  • Self-harming behavior or suicidal thoughts
  • Experiencing extreme moods, such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, or anger
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Feelings of being dissociated from the world

Symptoms can range in severity. If you are struggling with any of these symptoms, it may be time to reach out to a provider and get help.

What Causes BPD?

Scientists don’t know for sure what causes Borderline Personality Disorder. Research suggests that since BPD often runs in families, genetics may be a cause. Environmental factors, such as traumatic life events, can increase the risk of developing BPD. It may also be caused by changes or abnormalities in the brain.

How is BPD Treated?

Individuals with BPD can feel better with treatment.

  • Psychotherapy. There are a variety of different types of talk therapy that can be helpful in treating BPD. Some of the most common are Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Medication. People with BPD can benefit from taking medications designed to target specific symptoms, such as depression, mood swings, or anxiety.

In emergency situations, hospitalization or inpatient residential treatment may be necessary.

When to Get Help

If symptoms of BPD are having an effect on your daily functioning, reach out to your healthcare provider. They can help you determine the next steps to take towards feeling better.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency or having suicidal thoughts, contact your local crisis number, the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or call 911. Find Minnesota mental health crisis numbers here.

Guild Can Help

At Guild, we know that people with mental illness can and do recover. If you’re looking for services to help you feel better, you’ve come to the right place. Our Community Access team can discuss your situation and determine your eligibility for Guild services or other state resources. Call us at 651-925-8490 to get on the road to recovery today.



Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms and Causes, Mayo Clinic.

Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment, Mayo Clinic. 

Borderline Personality Disorder, National Institute of Mental Health.

Borderline Personality Disorder, National Alliance on Mental Illness.