Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also called emotionally unstable personality disorder or emotional intensity disorder, is a cluster-B personality disorder whose essential features are a pattern of marked impulsivity and instability of affects, interpersonal relationships, and self image. The pattern is present by early adulthood and occurs across a variety of situations and contexts.
Other symptoms may include intense fears of abandonment and intense anger and irritability, the reason for which others have difficulty understanding. People with BPD often engage in idealization and devaluation of others, alternating between high positive regard and great disappointment. Self-mutilation and suicidal behavior are common.
This disorder is recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Because a personality disorder is a pervasive, enduring and inflexible pattern of maladaptive inner experience and pathological behavior, there is a general reluctance to diagnose personality disorders before adolescence or early adulthood. Some emphasize, however, that without early treatment, symptoms may worsen.
There is an ongoing debate about the terminology of this disorder, especially the word "borderline". The ICD-10 manual refers to this disorder as Emotionally unstable personality disorder and has similar diagnostic criteria. There is related concern that the diagnosis of BPD stigmatizes people with BPD and supports discriminatory practices, because it suggests that the personality of the individual is flawed.
Borderline Personality Disorder Resources and related links
National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder - The mission of the National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder is to raise public awareness, provide education, promote research on borderline personality disorder, and enhance the quality of life of those affected by this serious mental illness. They also have a family program called Family Connections which is a 12 week program for family members with a relative who has BPD. The course provides education, research, and skills training. Their website contains a good deal of resources on BPD.
Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center - The BPDRC at New York Presbyterian Hospital is a non-profit informational center dedicated to providing education, awareness and support to individuals and families struggling with BPD. It was set up specifically to help those impacted by the disorder to find the most current and accurate information on the nature of BPD and on available treatments.
BPD Articles and Research
- Important Questions for Families and Individuals to ask Before Selecting a BPD Treatment Program (BPDRC)
- Personality Disorders in Adolescents: A Resource Guide
- A Blog about Borderline Personality Disorder from Eric A Fertuck
- Imaging Study Maps Brain Activity in Borderline Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder is Real - Part 1: Diagnostic Validity