Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Causes of borderline personality disorder (BPD)

2-minute read

Borderline Personality Disorder makes difficult to cope in all areas of life.

What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

BPD is a type of personality disorder that makes it difficult to cope in all areas of life.

As with most mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder (BPD) are not completely understood.

A combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, developmental or psychological problems, neglect, abuse or trauma during childhood, may make some people more susceptible to developing BPD.

Even if a person has a genetic predisposition for BPD, they won't necessarily develop the disorder.

Environmental triggers, such as a stressful event or relationship breakup may cause BPD to develop in someone who has a genetic predisposition.

A history of trauma, abuse and neglect during childhood is common in people with BPD and can increase the risk of BPD. But not everyone who develops BPD has experienced trauma as a child, nor does everyone who experiences trauma develop BPD.

During times of stress, many people with borderline personality disorder experience post-traumatic stress symptoms, such as flashbacks, nightmares, dissociative states, feelings of unreality and panic attacks.

Sometimes negative experiences from the past return as voices or punishing self-talk that feel real and are difficult to ignore.

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:

Last reviewed: December 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 27 results

Borderline personality disorder - myDr.com.au

People with borderline personality disorder have persistent difficulty relating to other people and to the world around them.

Read more on myDr website

Borderline Personality Disorder | WayAhead

What is Borderline Personality Disorder? Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that makes it hard for a person to feel comfortable in themselves. People with BDP have difficulty managing emotions, impulses and relating to others. They have high levels of distress and anger and can easily

Read more on WayAhead Mental Health Association NSW website

Borderline personality disorder | Personality disorders | ReachOut Australia

People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) often have trouble dealing with everyday situations and interactions.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

BPD is a common mental illness. People affected have difficulty managing their emotions and impulses, relating to people and maintaining a stable self...

Read more on SANE Australia website

Borderline personality disorder | Your Health in Mind

Looking after someone? Are you helping someone with a mental illness? Help for carers

Read more on RANZCP - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website

Treatment of borderline personality disorder | Your Health in Mind

Psychological treatments (talking therapies) are the best way to treat BPD

Read more on RANZCP - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is a modified version of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) designed to treat borderline personality disorder

Read more on SANE Australia website

Helping someone with borderline personality disorder | Your Health in Mind

Do not take over control of their life

Read more on RANZCP - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website

Self-care for borderline personality disorder | Your Health in Mind

To get well, you must be involved in your treatment

Read more on RANZCP - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website

Who can help with borderline personality disorder? | Your Health in Mind

BPD can be treated by psychiatrists and psychologists

Read more on RANZCP - The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback