Skip to main content

Home  >  Personality Disorders  >  Impulsive Personality Issues  >

Impulsive Personality Issues in Teens

Impulsive personality issues, when diagnosed, typically fall under the category of borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness characterized by extreme emotional instability, and most commonly results in impulsive actions.

Borderline personality disorder usually first appears in teenagers. Adolescents struggling with impulsive personality issues frequently are unable to connect with others, foster friendships, or maintain friends. This can leave a young person socially isolated. It is important to keep in mind that young people with borderline personality disorder can obtain treatment to help them learn to manage their symptoms, and with the proper support can go on to live happy and successful lives.  

Signs and Symptoms

Adolescents with borderline personality disorder experience challenges with regulating emotions, impulsive behaviors and reckless tendencies, and an inability to maintain stable relationships. Many teens with borderline personality disorder also have co-occurring disorders. These often include eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, anxiety disorders, and self-harming behaviors.

Certain signs and symptoms may manifest in teens that have impulsive personality issues. They can include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following examples:

  • A damaged self-image
  • Intense narcissism
  • Extreme and inappropriate reactions
  • Unable to feel empathy
  • Fear of rejection
  • Volatile
  • Overwhelming anxiety
  • Persistent fear of abandonment
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Acting out sexually
  • Suicidal ideations

Self-harm and suicide should not be minimized ever, but especially not with teenagers, and even more so not with teens that struggle with impulsive personality issues. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), borderline personality disorder is the only personality disorder that includes suicidal or self-injuring behaviors among its diagnostic criteria.


Teenage borderline personality disorder is one of the most frequently misdiagnosed personality disorders. Often times, young people are erroneously diagnosed with other mental health conditions, such as: depression, bipolar disorder, teen anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is essential that your adolescent be assessed and if need be diagnosed by an experienced mental health professional when it comes to impulsive personality issues. The proper diagnosis will greatly help in a teenager’s recovery trajectory.


Unfortunately, the research in regards to the causes behind the reasons for developing borderline personality disorder is still in the infancy stages. It has, however, been widely agreed amongst mental health professionals that both environmental factors as well as genetic factors do play a part. Additionally, social or cultural factors do have the propensity to increase the risk of borderline personality disorder.


Keep in mind that borderline personality disorder affects approximately fourteen million Americans. There are many treatment options available for those in need to help with continued healing. Pacific Teen Treatment offers a number of therapeutic methods that can assist in one’s treatment. We create tailored treatment plans for each of our residents, as we understand that every teen has unique needs. Some of the methods we incorporate into our treatment plans include: dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), expressive arts therapy, and talk therapy. We also feel it is essential to help our residents establish healthy and sustainable daily routines. We encourage other healthy pastimes, such as regular exercise and relaxation methods (i.e. yoga, meditation…etc.). We have three hours scheduled for schoolwork, daily, and provide healthy meal choices. At Pacific Teen Treatment, we work to help heal the whole individual and provide a foundation from which continued recovery can occur.

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know is in need of 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 an individual for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at

Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. 

Close Menu
Back to top