Characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that impacts a person’s mood, behavior, and self-image. It causes unstable
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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that impacts a person’s mood, behavior, and self-image. It causes unstable emotions, impulsive actions, risky behaviors, and low self-worth. Left untreated, borderline personality disorder can cause serious negative effects in a person’s life.

Borderline personality disorder can feel like an isolation condition to live with or love someone through, but it is more common than you may realize. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 1.4% of adults live with BPD.1 Are you wondering whether you or someone you love may be living with bipolar disorder? Read more about the condition and learn some common characteristics of borderline personality disorder to find out.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by patterns of highly unstable and unpredictable mood, behavior, self-image, and functioning. BPD causes intense episodes of anger, anxiety, and depression that last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. People with BPD also may view things with black-and-white thinking, such as seeing something as completely fantastic or absolutely terrible. They may change interests, activities, and close friends quickly.

At the same time, people with borderline personality disorder also experience an intense fear of abandonment. They may go to extreme lengths to avoid being abandoned by those they care about or leave before the other person can. They may exhibit impulsive and often reckless behavior, including substance abuse, spending sprees, binge eating, unsafe sex, or self-harm.

Characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder

Are you wondering whether someone you love may have BPD? The following characteristics of borderline personality disorder are some signs and symptoms to look for:

  • Drastic shifts in mood or emotion
  • Intense periods of anger that are difficult to control
  • Rapid changes in interests, hobbies, or activities
  • Distorted sense of self, poor self-worth, or negative self-image
  • Chronic feelings of depression, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Patterns of intense and unstable relationships with family members, friends, or colleagues
  • Extreme efforts to avoid abandonment, whether real or imagined, including diving into relationships or quickly ending them
  • Impulsive and risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, dangerous driving, binge eating, spending sprees, or unsafe sex
  • Self-harm behaviors, such as cutting, scratching, or burning
  • Suicidal ideation or behaviors

These are some of the most common signs of borderline personality disorder. Not everyone with BPD exhibits all symptoms, and some people may experience related symptoms that are not listed. Seeking professional help is the best way to determine the presence of BPD.

How to Treat Borderline Personality Disorder

Although there is no cure for borderline personality disorder, treatment is possible. With effective treatment, people with BPD can learn to manage their symptoms and live effective lives. Seeking treatment from a professional mental health treatment provider is the first step toward managing borderline personality disorder.

Clearview Treatment Programs is a leader in specialized behavioral health treatment for adults living with mental health disorders. We provide comprehensive, individualized care for conditions including borderline personality disorder, substance use disorder, and more. Our reliance on evidence-based methods provided on a continuum of care ensures you or your loved one lays the strongest possible foundation for an effective, happy life of recovery.

To learn more about the programs we offer at Clearview, please call us at 866-339-3544 and speak with an admissions specialist. We can answer any questions, help you find the program that best suits your needs, and connect you with the next steps of your healing journey today.



  1. National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Personality Disorders.
  2. National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Borderline Personality Disorder.


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