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.
I didn’t expect to faint at the sight of my son’s blood. As a mother, my job
is to nurse boo-boos -- and when when my son came to me after smashing his
thumb a few months ago, I prepared to do my best Florence Nightingale. Then I
saw the blood.
The room began to spin. I broke out in a cold sweat. I felt all the color
drain from my face. After yelling upstairs to my husband to take over, I slid
to the kitchen floor.
Psychologists don’t know exactly why up to 15% of us experience the plunge
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
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.