Learn More About BPD: What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

What is borderline personality disorder? How do you recognize the signs and symptoms of BPD? McLean’s Dr. Lois Choi-Kain answers common questions to help us better understand this disorder.

What Is BPD?

Borderline personality disorder is a problem of pervasive instability in many areas of functioning. According to Choi-Kain, these include managing emotions, controlling one’s behaviors, relating to others, and building a sense of self. It’s a problem that has to do with all our areas of personality functioning.

What Are the Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder?

People with borderline personality disorder tend to have mood swings that are reactive to stress. And these mood swings will vacillate between depression, anxiety, anger, and sometimes feeling nothing at all. People with BPD can get very angry, to a point of being enraged. This leads to inappropriate outbursts of anger and aggression that can become very problematic for relationships.

What Causes BPD?

For a long time, says Choi-Kain, we thought that BPD was an environmentally caused disorder. It was believed that relationships in a person’s early childhood really shaped the likelihood that someone would develop BPD.

Lately, research has shown that more of the disorder comes from genetics—that there is about half of the risk of BPD that is derived from having a biological basis.

Do Those With BPD Struggle With Other Mental Health Challenges?

Most people with borderline personality disorder will have also a mood disorder, mostly depression, or other anxiety disorders, including PTSD in some cases. In addition, people with BPD will commonly struggle with substance use problems, eating disorders and problems with ADHD.

What Age Group Does BPD Affect?

Many of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder become most obvious around the age of transition from adolescence to adulthood, around the age of 18. And it peaks in the 20s and declines in subsequent decades.

Is BPD Treatable?

According to Choi-Kain, earlier detection and diagnosis, as well as intervention, can really change the course of patient’s lives.

Learn everything you need to know about borderline personality disorder