Skip to main content

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic, complex psychological condition that listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It is characterized by a pervasive pattern of high affective instability, impulsive behaviors, unstable interpersonal relationships, and an inconsistent self-concept. Borderline personality disorder is associated with a diverse range of signs and symptoms. Recent research has shown that 1.6% of the population in the United States has BPD, which amounts to over four million Americans.

BPD Causes And Risk Factors

The cause of borderline personality disorder remains unknown. However, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) alludes to research that “suggests that genetics, brain structure and function, and environmental, cultural, and social factors play a role, or may increase the risk for developing borderline personality disorder.” Borderline personality disorder is approximately five times more common among people with close biological relatives with BPD. Scientific studies have found that individuals diagnosed with BPD have structural and/ or functional abnormalities, specifically in the areas of the brain that reign emotion regulation and impulse control. Furthermore, deviations from typical serotonin (hormone that works to stabilize one’s mood, happiness, and feelings of well-being) production have been noted to increase one’s vulnerability to BPD. According to University of Manchester research, people with borderline personality disorder are 13 times more likely to report childhood trauma than people without any mental health problems.

BPD And Toxic Relationships

The quick changing nature of BPD symptoms (e.g., emotional peaks and valleys) can lead to conflict-filled, chaotic relationships that may develop into toxic relationships. A toxic relationship is often characterized by repeated, mutually destructive modes of relating between a parties, that may include patterns of jealousy, possessiveness, dominance, manipulation, desperation, selfishness, and/ or rejection. While a toxic relationship can trigger, or precipitate the exacerbation of one’s BPD symptoms, it would be erroneous to postulate that toxic relationships alone can cause an individual to develop borderline personality disorder. To fully understand how other complex factors (e.g., experiences in later life, psychological processes, etc.) play a role in the development of BPD additional research is required.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.  


Close Menu
Back to top