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Borderline Personality Disorder - Can Emotional Instability Be A Sign Of It?

MD - Psychiatry, MBBS
Psychiatrist, Delhi  •  29 years experience
Borderline Personality Disorder - Can Emotional Instability Be A Sign Of It?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is such a disorder of personality that causes mood swings, self-esteem issues, impulsive behavior and recurrent self-harm behaviour. It is very difficult to lead a normal life with these varied psychological issues.

People suffering from BPD fear abandonment and loneliness. Yet, they have a tendency of showing mood swings, sudden emotional outburst or anger and hostility. This prevents them from having a long lasting relationship in life. It usually starts affecting the patient's life from early adulthood. It however seems to improve with age. The patient also has distorted self-image. He or she is unclear about what they want from life or what they are in reality. Even minor incidents can trigger intense reactions in people with BPD.

Symptoms of BPD:

  1. Disturbed self-image: People have self-esteem issues, they sometimes love or hate themselves or see themselves as evil. They have unclear goals, views, beliefs and often end up changing their friends, lovers, jobs, sexual identity frequently.
  2. Emotional instability: Intense feelings of rage, sorrow, anger, guilt and emptiness or loneliness are experienced by some sufferers of BPD. Extreme mood swings, lasting for a short span of time, are common in BPD. They may also have issues with their self-image where they cannot place themselves and don't know what they feel about themselves or who they are.
  3. Dysfunctional relationships: It is very difficult to maintain a normal relationship for people with personality disorder. They tend to have quick short-lived relationships and get put off very easily which leads to a lot of heartbreak. Suicidal tendencies and frequent self-harm behaviour like cutting skin using blades/ sharp objects are common. Drugs and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and sexual promiscuity are other forms of self-destructive behaviour commonly encountered in this population. 

Causes for BPD:

  1. Usually it has been found by researchers that it occurs to patients who have had a disturbed childhood. Complex and unpleasant happenings in the childhood may leave a deep impact on the patient's personality, which comes back as a disorder in his or her early adulthood. From mental, physical to sexual abuse in the childhood can lead to this condition in adults.
  2. Besides, researchers have discovered recently that this illness has hereditary links. Some genes may be responsible for BPD. Improper functioning of the brain is also another factor. Especially, the portion of brain that controls emotions might not be functioning properly in co-ordination with other parts of it.

Diagnosis for BPD:

There is no particular clinical test that can diagnose BPD. It can be diagnosed by a series of interactive session with the patient by a psychiatrist.

Love and support from family and friends are crucial for patients suffering from this disease. Prolonged counseling sessions, therapies and the effort to break away from the chronic gloomy thoughts will definitely lead one to a better life.

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