What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BDP) describes a person who exhibits a pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships, unstable self-image, impulsivity, and unstable affect. A person with BPD will often begin to show these characteristics by early adulthood and in a variety of contexts.


The prevalence of BPD ranges across populations but is as high as 5.9%. The prevalence seems to decrease as people get older. It is more often diagnosed in females but does occur in males as well. Many people with BPD report having experienced a trauma at some point in their life.

Signs and Symptoms

People with BPD will often make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, will have a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships and will alternate between extremes of loving or hating people. They will exhibit a very unstable self-image and mood, will experience chronic feelings of emptiness, and will exhibit intense anger or difficulty in controlling their anger. Some people with BPD will threaten suicide or engage in self-mutilating behaviour. Finally, they may experience transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.


Treatment for BPD is mainly through psychotherapy. The most common form of psychotherapy for BPD is dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) which helps people to gain the skills necessary to regulate their emotions. DBT may be offered individually or in a group format.  Some mental health professionals will suggest meeting with a family doctor or psychiatrist for medication, along with psychotherapy, depending on the severity of the symptoms or co-occurring depression or anxiety.


The DSM-5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5

The Mayo Clinic: Mayoclinic.org

Video Resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdWnP8FReAI