• Amy Shannon

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

BPD is, as the name suggests, a disorder of an individual's personality and affects how they interact with other people. They think, react, feel, and perceive other people in a different light to the average person. This may affect how they have relationships with others and how they function in day-to-day life.

Symptoms of BPD

- The individual's emotions may fluctuate quickly from one emotion to another.

- They may have abandonment issues i.e. have an intense fear and distrust that the people - They have become close to are going to leave them whether it be sooner or later.

- They may act impulsively and do things that could harm themselves.

- They may have mood swings that can last from a few hours to a few days.

- They may have issues controlling their temper and frequently lose it.

- They may have suicidal thoughts and/or harm themselves.

- They may not have a clear understanding of who they are compared to the average person.

- They can experience stress-related paranoia and dissociation.

Causes of BPD

There is not a clear understanding of why BPD exists although, it appears to evolve from both genetics, brain abnormalities, and childhood traumas.


Individuals who have a close family member with BPD are more likely to have or develop BPD

Brain Abnormalities

Some research has shown that there may be changes to the parts of the brain that control emotion, impulsivity, aggression, and the regulation of serotonin in the brain.

Childhood Traumas

Many people with BPD say that they have suffered from some sort of childhood trauma, whether it be emotional, physical, and/or sexual.

Complications of BPD

BPD can affect many areas of an individual's life. These areas may include school, interpersonal relationships, jobs, and social interactions. Complications may include:

- Inability to hold a job

- They may not complete their education

- They may not have/have few positive interpersonal relationships

- They may have attempted to end their lives or succeeded in ending it

- They may have been in and out of prison

- They may engage in risky behaviours that may have life-altering effects such as pregnancy, fighting, drug abuse, etc.

- They may have other mental health conditions alongside their BPD.

Treatments for BPD

Treatments for BPD include:

- Psychotherapy (Individual and Group)

- Dialectal behavioural therapy

- Mentalisation-based therapy

- Therapeutic communities

- Art therapies

- Medications

Psychotherapy (Individual and Group)

Psychotherapy is a talking therapy used with people with BPD to help them sort through their emotions, thoughts, and behaviours. More on psychotherapy is talked about in my blog post "HELP! What can I do?".

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a type of psychotherapy that is commonly used to treat BPD, especially those who have attempted or thought of attempting suicide. This type of therapy is designed to help people both accept themselves and decide to also change themselves for the better.

Mentalisation-based Therapy (MBT)

Mentalisation helps people to understand their thoughts and why they are thinking them. Mentalisation is the ability to differentiate your own feelings from others and this is what MBT is designed to help with for people with BPD. It can also help with responding appropriately to their behaviours and not act so impulsively.

Therapeutic Communities

Therapeutic communities are when people with various types of mental health issues come together to support each other. Therapeutic communities are usually held in a large house where they could spend days at a time helping each other each week with various issues they might be having. This may be something simple like helping with chores, games, etc.

Art Therapies

The first thing I think of when I think of art therapy is painting, but that is not the only type of art therapy. Art therapies may include:

- Art therapy (Painting and crafts)

- Dance therapy

- Music therapy

- Drama therapy

These therapies are designed for people who find it hard to express their emotions verbally and focuses on other outlets to express their emotions. These therapies are run by therapists train in each type of therapy. These sessions are usually weekly and can be 2 hours at a time.


Medicines are often used when an individual has another mental health condition alongside their BPD. These may include:

- Depression

- Anxiety disorders

- Bipolar Disorder

More on medicating these illnesses in my blog posts "HELP! What can I do?" and "Depression and Anxiety".

Amy Shannon



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