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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) symptoms

2-minute read

People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have persistent difficulties in controlling their emotions and relating to other people.

We all see the world through different eyes, but a person with BPD has an abnormally distorted view of themselves and the environment around them. They don’t feel comfortable in themselves, and they can find everyday life, like what other people do and say to them, very upsetting.

There are many different BPD symptoms including:

  • intense mood swings including outbursts of anxiety, anger and depression
  • a pattern of tumultuous relationships with friends, family and loved ones
  • alternating between idealising and devaluing other people
  • fear of being alone and frantic attempts to avoid abandonment
  • unstable and distorted self-image or sense of self
  • feeling neglected, alone, misunderstood, chronically empty or bored
  • feelings of self-loathing and self-hate
  • self-harm, such as cutting as a coping mechanism
  • suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • impulsive and risk-taking behaviour, such as unsafe sex, illegal drug use or gambling
  • black and white thinking, or difficulty compromising
  • paranoid thoughts in response to stress
  • feeling out of touch with reality and cut off

A health professional can make a formal diagnosis of BPD. If you or someone you know has BPD symptoms, seek professional advice. Treatment can help people with the disorder manage their symptoms.

Where to get help

If you need someone to talk to, or want to find out more online, here are some organisations that might be able to help:

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Last reviewed: December 2018

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