Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that causes intense
mood swings, impulsive behaviors, and severe problems with self-worth. It can lead to troubled relationships in every
area of a person's life.
Most of the time, signs
of the disorder first appear in childhood. But problems often don't start until
early adulthood. Treatment can be hard, and getting better can take years.
Problems with emotions and behaviors are hard to improve. But
with treatment, most people with severe
symptoms do get better over time.
Sometimes recognizing hypochondria takes a little time.
It wasn't until Rebecca Serrano (not her real name) had been married for a full year that she realized her new husband had a problem. Once, he was convinced he had testicular cancer -- but he wouldn't go to the doctor. Another time, when he got a sinus infection, he thought it was a brain tumor.
"This anxiety literally led him to feel more pain than a normal person would feel. He had panic attacks and was in such a slump over any minor illness,"...
know exactly what causes borderline personality disorder. Problems with chemicals in the brain that help
control moods may play a role. It also seems to run in
Often, people who get it faced some kind of childhood
trauma such as abuse, neglect, or the death of a parent. The risk is higher when people who had childhood trauma also have problems
anxiety or stress.
What are the symptoms?
Everyone has problems with
emotions or behaviors sometimes. But if you have borderline personality
disorder, the problems are severe, repeat over a long time, and disrupt your
life. The most common symptoms include:
Intense emotions and mood swings.
Harmful, impulsive behaviors. These may include things like substance
binge eating, out-of-control spending, risky sexual behavior, and reckless
Relationship problems. You may see others as either "good" or
"bad" and may shift from one view to the other suddenly, for minor reasons. This can make relationships very difficult.
A frantic fear of being left alone
(abandoned). This fear may lead to frantic attempts to hold on to those around
you. Or it may cause you to reject others before they can
Other symptoms may include:
Feeling empty inside.
with anger, such as violent temper tantrums.
Hurting yourself, such
as cutting or burning yourself.
Suicide attempts and suicidal
Times when you feel paranoid or lose a sense of reality (psychosis).
It's easy to confuse this disorder with other mental
illnesses. And they may overlap. So if you think that
you or someone you know may have borderline personality disorder, see a doctor.
Don't try to diagnose yourself.