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How Can You Tell If Someone Has Borderline Personality Disorder?

How Can You Tell If Someone Has Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder, also known as BPD, is a chronic mental health disorder that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The term “borderline” was initially coined because psychiatrists believed that its symptoms hovered on the border between psychosis and neurosis. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) defines a borderline personality disorder as an “illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior.” These patterns will often lead to reckless and hasty actions that negatively affect relationships. Hence, young people with a borderline personality disorder often struggle with relationship issues, lack self-esteem, have a poor self-image, and have an inability to appropriately self-regulate.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of borderline personality disorder can pervasively interfere with a young person’s ability to function optimally in his or her daily life. Common symptoms of borderline personality disorder can include, but are not limited to any combination of the following examples, provided by the Mayo Clinic

  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Risky behavior (e.g., gambling, having unsafe sex, etc.)
  • Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
  • Fragile self-image
  • Unstable relationships
  • Erratic moods
  • Frequent displays of intense anger
  • Stress-related, fleeting paranoia
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Threats of self-injury

It is not uncommon for young people with BPD to feel extremely intense emotions for extended periods of time. This makes returning to a stable emotional baseline far more challenging, especially after experiencing an emotionally triggering event. The symptoms that manifest because of borderline personality disorder often mimic those of other mental health disorders such as histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and bipolar personality disorder, which can make the diagnosis process rather challenging. Although a young person may exhibit many or all the signs and symptoms of BPD it is impossible to draw the conclusion that someone has borderline personality disorder if they have not been formally diagnosed.

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, in the 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.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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