How Do I Know If I Have Borderline Personality Disorder?

Also known as ‘borderline disorder’, it is characterized by emotional instability.

How to know if I have borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a common disease. It is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, which causes problems to insert normally in daily life.

2% of the Spanish population suffers from this type of disorder. Almost 75% of people diagnosed with this disorder are women, but recent research suggests that the percentage of affected men may equal that of women. These people show many difficulties in regulating emotions and impulses. These difficulties in regulating emotions cause changes in mood, self-image, a lot of instability and problems in interpersonal relationships.

With borderline personality disorder, you have a deep fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have a conflict in tolerating being alone.


Borderline personality disorder commonly begins in adolescence. The disorder appears to be worse in early adulthood and may improve with age.

The causes are not yet fully understood, but are most likely a mix of genetic, family, social, and stressful life factors.

1. Genetics

No specific gene has been shown to cause the disorder. But this type of disorder has been shown to be about five times more common among people who have a first-degree relative with BPD (borderline personality disorder).

2. Environmental factors

Those who experience traumatic events in their life, such as physical or sexual abuse or abuse in childhood or neglect, are more likely to develop the disorder.

3. Brain function

The functional shape of the brain is different in people with borderline personality disorder, which means that there is a different neurological basis for some symptoms. Specifically, the parts of the brain that control emotions and decision-making.


Symptoms of borderline personality disorder can include:

  • Distorted and unstable self-image
  • Efforts to avoid being abandoned by friends, partner and family
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships
  • Impulsive behaviors that can sometimes have dangerous results, such as overspending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, etc.
  • Suicidal behavior or self-harm
  • Major mood swings that can last from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, embarrassment, or anxiety
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Periods of low or depressed mood
  • Inappropriate, intense, or uncontrollable anger
  • Shame and guilt
  • Continuous feelings of emptiness
  • Intense, inappropriate anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights
  • Rapid changes in identity and self-image that include changing goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad and as if you don’t exist
  • Intense, inappropriate anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights

Risk factor’s

  • Abandonment or fear of abandonment in childhood or adolescence
  • Dissociated family life
  • Poor communication in the family
  • Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse

How do I know if I have borderline personality disorder?

There is no medical test to diagnose BPD, it is not based on a single symptom. It is important to be diagnosed by an experienced mental health professional. Once the professional has conducted a thorough interview and discussion about the symptoms, they will determine if it corresponds to this diagnosis or another.

The psychologist may also ask questions about the symptoms and medical history of both the patient and the family, including any history of mental illness. This information can help the mental health professional decide the best treatment.

Additionally, a complete and thorough medical examination can also help rule out other possible causes of symptoms.


A typical and comprehensive treatment plan would include; psychotherapy medication and family support.

1. Psychotherapy

It is the fundamental pillar for treatment. In addition to dialectical behavior therapy, which was created specifically for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, there are other types of psychotherapy that are effective (cognitive behavioral therapy and mentalization-based therapy).

2. Medication

There are no specific drugs for borderline personality disorder. But if they treat the symptoms of anger, depression and anxiety with another type of medication. This medication can include mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants, and anxiolytics.

3. Hospitalization

As a last option, if psychological therapy and medication are not enough, hospitalization of the person would be important and recommended. A hospital can provide a safe environment for a person with BPD who self-harms or has suicidal thoughts.

If you have borderline personality disorder, don’t give up. Many people with this disorder improve over time with treatment and learn to regulate their emotions by leading a fuller life.

Bibliographic references:

  • Gregory, R. (2006). “Clinical Challenges in Co-occurring Borderline Personality and Substance Use Disorders”. Psychiatric Times XXIII (13).

  • McGlashan, TH (1983). “The borderline syndrome: Is it a variant of schizophrenia or affective disorder?” Arch Gen Psychiatry.

  • Nordahl, HM, TE Nysaeter (September 2005). “Schema therapy for patients with borderline personality disorder: a single case series”. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry 36 (3).

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