BPD is listed in the DSM as a newly recognised personality disorder. Having five or more of the following symptoms is a prerequisite for being diagnosed:
· Experiencing a roller coaster of emotions (eg. Feeling happy and confident one day and desperate and despairing another).
Note: Key emotions associated with the disorder are a sense of emptiness and intense anger or rage
· Problems with forming and maintaining relationships
· Having an unstable identity (That is, the way you see and feel about yourself depends on who are with, and their view of you )
· Engaging in impulsive and risky behaviours without considering the consequences (For example, having sexual flings, or changing partners frequently)
· Engaging in self-harm or substance abuse
· Desperately fearing rejection or abandonment
· Occasionally experiencing hallucinations or delusions.
Individuals diagnosed with BPD also tend to have other mental health concerns, like anxiety, depression, fears and phobias, eating disorders and substance abuse. They also go from one unstable and intense relationship to an equally unhealthy relationship.
In romantic relationships and close friendships, they are clingy, insecure and have low self-worth (which often leads to feelings of jealousy). Thus although they seek for closeness and intimacy their sense of neediness can make this hard to sustain.
In other social relationships, they continually battle with low self-esteem, expect to be judged, and don’t feel like they belong. Thus, they expect these relationships to disappoint and fail.
It is unclear what causes borderline personality disorder. It is believed to be due to a combination of factors, including: innate temperament, difficult early life experiences (such as a major house move, the loss of a parent through death or divorce, childhood neglect, or some kind of abuse), and experiencing ongoing or significant stress. However, this is not the case with all sufferers.
In terms of treatment and support, the main thing to target is the person’s need for love, unconditional acceptance and a chance to be heard. Often, talking therapy is very useful here – as well access to a person when they’re feeling overwhelmed. (That is, having access to some kind of crisis counselling). Usually, medication is only prescribed to treat related symptoms like anxiety.