Borderline Personality Disorder Signs & Symptoms

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that includes the continued fear of abandonment, the inability to maintain stable relationships, and mood swings that are unpredictable. Those who meet the criteria for this disorder tend to feel a strong desire to connect with others, though they easily devalue relationships because rejection feels inevitable to them.

Understanding BPD

Learn about borderline personality disorder

When an individual with BPD does not obtain treatment, he or she places him or herself at risk for a variety of effects that can be damaging to his or her overall wellbeing. Impairments at work or at school can occur, along with another mental health condition. Additionally, self-harm and/or suicidal ideations can start if an individual ignores his or her symptoms. When individuals are battling with BPD at the same time as an eating disorder, the effects can be highly dangerous, as they are at risk for going through a variety of adverse health effects.

Luckily, there is comprehensive treatment for co-occurring BPD and eating disordersthat has proven to be highly effective in reducing symptoms and the potential for the development of long-term, negative effects. By obtaining care for BPD symptoms and co-occurring eating disorders, individuals can learn the skills needed to cope with their symptoms, defeat their disordered eating behaviors, develop healthy relationships, and establish solid self-esteem.


Borderline personality disorder statistics

It is estimated that between six and ten million people throughout the country battle with BPD. Studies have shown that BPD impacts more women than men, as 75% to 95% of those who meet the diagnostic criteria for this disorder are women.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for BPD

Researchers have yet to determine one primary cause of BPD, though the following explanations for the origins of this mental illness can include both genetic and environmental factors. Consider the following:

Genetic: Research on the prevalence of BPD in those from the same family has shown that this mental health illness can be heritable. Those who have a first-degree relative who has been diagnosed with BPD have a higher chance of also being diagnosed with this same illness.

Environmental: Specific environmental impacts can add to the chance of one’s development of this mental health condition. For example, high exposure to conflict, instability, chaos, and stressful situations can cause BPD symptoms to develop. Some experts believe that poor attachment during childhood can also trigger the onset of this disorder.

Risk Factors:

  • Exposure to chronic stress or chaos
  • Poor attachment with caregivers during early stages of development
  • Being a victim of abuse or neglect
  • Family history of borderline personality disorder or other mental illnesses
  • Personal history of mental illness

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of BPD

Depending on the type of symptoms present, one may or may not fully appear to be struggling with BPD. Some of the behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms of BPD can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Presence of self-harming behaviors
  • Attempts at suicide
  • Acting out due to feelings of perceived abandonment
  • Participating in manipulative behaviors
  • Unprovoked emotional or angry outbursts
  • Fits of hysterical crying

Physical symptoms:

  • Changes in need for sleep
  • Presence of injuries due to self-harm
  • Drastic changes in eating habits
  • Significant weight loss or gain

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Derealization
  • Dissociation
  • Paranoia
  • Depersonalization
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired memory
  • Delusions

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Pervasive feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Feelings of loneliness
  • Low self-esteem / self-worth
  • Drastic shifts in mood


Effects of borderline personality disorder

Some individuals who have borderline personality disorder do not obtain treatment for their symptoms since they do not perceive any negative issues with their behaviors and ways of thinking that have been consistent throughout their lives. However, not addressing unhealthy patterns of thought and behaviors can cause a number of devastating effects to develop if treatment is not obtained. Some examples of the possible effects of untreated BPD can include:

  • Self-injury
  • Inability to maintain healthy interpersonal relationships
  • Demoralized sense of self
  • Deterioration of physical health
  • Inability to maintain employment
  • Inability to achieve academically
  • Death as a result of suicide

Co-Occurring Disorders

BPD and co-occurring disorders

Since the symptoms of other mental health conditions can develop in those with BPD, it is common that those who struggle with this disorder also meet the criteria for additional mental illnesses. Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa tend to co-occur in those who are grappling with BPD. In addition to eating disorders, below are some other mental illnesses that one can suffer with simultaneously with BPD:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders

My dual diagnosis had taken control of my life, but when I discovered Montecatini, I learned to manage my mental health. My quality of life has been amazing ever since.

– Former Client
A Dynamic and Vibrant Healing Community
Located in scenic Carlsbad, California, three miles from the Pacific Coast.