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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a kind of mental health problem. It may also be called emotionally unstable personality disorder. People with BPD have unstable moods and can act recklessly. They also have a hard time managing their emotions. If you have BPD, you may have problems with daily tasks, obligations, and life events. You may have trouble keeping jobs and relationships. And you may use food, alcohol, or other substances to cope.
It’s important to get treatment, because you are at higher risk of suicide. You are also at higher risk for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and self-harm. Experts are still learning about the condition. Certain kinds of treatment can help and are often quite successful.
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes BPD. Some studies have shown it may be passed down in families. Your social and cultural surroundings may also play a part. For example, you may be at higher risk for BPD if you are part of a community with unstable relationships. People are at a higher risk for getting borderline personality disorder if they have suffered from abuse or neglect. Living with parents or guardians who have a history of substance abuse or criminal activity may increase the risk as well.
The symptoms of BPD often start during the teen years. The symptoms can vary from person to person. But people with BPD will have at least 5 of these symptoms over time:
The symptoms of BPD may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your health care provider for a diagnosis.
If you have BPD symptoms, you can be diagnosed by a mental health provider. This type of specialist can include a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Or you may be seen by a clinical social worker or psychiatric nurse practitioner.
The mental health provider will ask about your medical history and your symptoms. You may be asked about your family’s history of mental health conditions. You may also have a physical exam. This can rule out other illness. Make sure to tell the mental health provider about any health problems you have and any medications you take.
Your health care provider will figure out your specific treatment for BFP based on the following:
Many people with BPD respond well to treatment and get better. The most common treatment for BPD is psychotherapy. It can be done one-on-one or in a group setting. It may also be helpful if your family is part of the treatment. A trained psychotherapist may use one or more of these methods:
Medications can also help some people with BPD. Neuroleptic and atypical antipsychotic medication can help with some symptoms. Antidepressant and antianxiety medication can be used to treat symptoms of depression or anxiety that may happen at the same time as BPD.
If you have severe symptoms, you may need hospital care for a time.
BPD may seriously affect a person’s ability to cope and function in a job or in school. Other common problems that affect people with BPD include getting other mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, substance abuse, eating disorders, and other psychiatric conditions. The person may have repeated hospitalizations due to repeated suicide attempts, self-mutilation, and disruptive behaviors. It can even lead to multiple prison sentences.
If you have BPD:
If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, tell your health care provider.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.