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What Are The Behaviors Of Borderline Personality Disorder?


What Are The Behaviors Of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, mental health disorder. It is a complex psychological condition that is characterized by pervasive instability in moods, emotions, behaviors, and interpersonal relationships which interfere with one’s ability to function in everyday life. It can be difficult to determine who will develop borderline personality disorder as the cause of BPD remains unknown. 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 a borderline personality disorder.” Many adolescents display some amount of personality disorder traits during adolescence, and it is considered a matter of typical, non-problematic development by developmental experts. Young people with a borderline personality disorder often struggle with self-image, mood swings, impulse control, an intense fear of abandonment, and low feelings of self-worth. Teenagers with BPD feel prolonged, intense emotions and are unable to return to a neutral emotional baseline after facing an emotionally charged experience in a timely manner.

Symptoms and Behaviors

The symptoms and behaviors associated with borderline personality disorder can affect all areas of one’s life as the duration it takes a young person with BPD to process, integrate, and recover from emotional challenges is elongated. Up until very recently, borderline personality disorder was not considered to be diagnosable in people younger than age eighteen, as the personalities of people younger than eighteen are not technically considered to be fully formed. However, in the most recent publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders it does indicate that BPD can now be diagnosed in people as young as age eighteen, and albeit extremely rare, can be diagnosed in children thirteen years old, and in some cases even younger. The symptoms of borderline personality disorder are highlighted in the diagnostic criteria that are outlined in the DSM-5. According to the DSM-5, to be diagnosed with BPD a young person must experience five or more of the following symptoms in a variety of contexts:

  1. Emotional instability
  2. Feelings of emptiness
  3. Efforts to avoid abandonment
  4. Impulsive behaviors
  5. Identity disturbances
  6. Inappropriate, irrational, and/ or intense bouts of anger
  7. Transient paranoid and/ or dissociative symptoms
  8. Unstable interpersonal relationships
  9. Suicidal and/ or self-harming behaviors

BPD directly affects how one feels about him or herself, one’s behavior as well as how one can relate to others. BPD is very difficult to diagnose in young people because its symptoms strongly mirror symptoms of other mental health disorders. 

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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