What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on May 15, 2023
1 min read

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness. It usually begins in your late teens or early 20s. More women have it than men. There's no known cause, but it's believed to be a combination of the way your brain is built and the things you experience in life.

For example, you may be prone to have it based on genes passed down through your family. But then, something might happen that can trigger it, such as being abused or neglected.

When you have BPD, you have a hard time controlling your emotions. This can cause you to:

  • Take unnecessary risks
  • Have intense mood swings
  • Have bouts of anger, depression, or anxiety

You may find it difficult to:

  • Manage daily tasks at home
  • Perform at work
  • Maintain relationships

This can lead to things like divorce, separation from family and friends, and serious financial issues.

BPD isn't an isolated issue. If you have it, you are more likely to have other mental health challenges. You may experience anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and thoughts of suicide. Many cope by turning to drugs and alcohol, which can create more problems.

Though there's no clear cure, the intensity of BPD may lessen with age and treatment.