Borderline Personality Disorder

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What is borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (sometimes called BPD) is a particular pattern of extreme personality traits.

In borderline personality disorder, a person generally has difficulty maintaining steady relationships with other people. They may be dramatic, impulsive, and demanding.

People with borderline personality disorder also tend to be moody, experiencing a lot of high highs and low lows. Experiencing very intense, hard-to-control emotions is a hallmark of borderline personality disorder.

It’s normal to experience strong emotions, mood swings, and conflicts with other people at times. But if these conflicts and intense emotions are persistent and extreme enough to cause problems in your day-to-day life, you might have borderline personality disorder.

Unlike many other mental health conditions, personality disorders are usually present in some form throughout a person’s life.

Prevalence of borderline personality disorder

According to The National Institute of Mental Health, at least 1.6% of American adults have borderline personality disorder [1].

However, the actual percentage may be higher due to mistaken diagnoses of mental health conditions that appear similar to borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is much more common for women than for men. About 75% of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in the U.S. are women.

Symptoms of borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder can come with a wide array of symptoms, and not everyone will experience the same symptoms.

However, some of the most common symptoms include:

Personality disorders can sometimes be confused with regular personality traits, but the difference is that a personality disorder deviates from cultural norms and causes a person significant trouble on a regular basis.

Types of borderline personality disorder

There is no clear consensus about whether or not different subtypes of borderline personality disorder exist. Some researchers and theorists have attempted to create these definitions, but for the most part they have not yet been clinically tested.

The important thing to note is that different people may experience borderline personality disorder in different ways. In particular, some people may have more outward symptoms, such as impulsive behavior and conflict with others. At the same time, other people may have more inward symptoms, such as paranoia and anxiety.

If you’re not sure whether your symptoms might be borderline personality disorder, it’s best to consult with a therapist or physician for further guidance.

Treatments for borderline personality disorder

There are a number of options that may be helpful if you think you might have borderline personality disorder:

What to look for in a therapist for borderline personality disorder

Look for a therapist who has a specialty in treating borderline personality disorders, ideally with DBT

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is often considered the best treatment for individuals with borderline personality disorder.

Several studies have found that DBT can be effective for individuals with BPD in improving coping skills, stabilizing mood, improving interpersonal skills, and reducing risk of suicide. [2]

Other therapy types that are utilized in the treatment of borderline personality disorder include:

Prioritize a personal fit

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Consider cost, location, and scheduling

Therapy will only work if it works for you. Before making an appointment, ask yourself honestly:

Find DBT therapists for borderline personality disorder

Find DBT therapists for borderline personality disorder near you on Zencare:

Search by insurance, fees, and location; watch therapist introductory videos; and book free initial calls to find the right therapist for you.