Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental illness marked by unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. People with BPD may struggle with self-image problems, feelings of self-doubt, intense fear of abandonment, and low self-worth. They often have trouble controlling their emotional reactions, which can lead to self-harm and suicidal behaviors. It is common for people with BPD to have high rates of co-occurring disorders, such as substance use disorders, depression, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders.
BPD can be provisionally diagnosed in adolescents when symptoms persist for more than one year. While by nature the personality of adolescents is still developing, the diagnosis of BPD can be made with great care and on the basis of a thorough history and evaluation of an adolescent’s thinking style, emotional coping patterns, and interpersonal mode of functioning.
Mental health experts agree that the name “borderline personality disorder” can be misleading; however, a more accurate term does not yet exist. The good news is that when BPD is accurately diagnosed, treatment can be successful and individuals can go on to lead meaningful and productive lives.
It’s estimated that 1.6% of the adult US population has BPD but it may be as high as 5.9%. Nearly 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women, but recent research suggests that men may be almost as frequently affected by BPD. In the past, men with BPD were often misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression.
BPD in the News
Borderline Personality Disorder: Fact vs Fiction by Blaise Aguirre, MD
Why Do Teens Cut and What Can Parents Do To Help? by Michael R. Hollander, PhD
McLean Gives Self-Destructive Teen Girls the Attention They Need in The Boston Globe