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Mental Health Treatment California

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that is indicated by unstable moods, unregulated emotions, and disruptive behaviors. Therefore borderline personality disorder impacts a person’s self image, and their relationships with others. Intense anger and frequent mood swings may lead to risk of suicide and self-harm.

Although borderline personality disorder affects only 2% of adults, more than 75% of those diagnosed are women. BPD is typically diagnosed in young adulthood when it is usually at its most severe. Therapy has been shown to be quite effective in treating BPD patients and helping them to lead successful lives.

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT
Review Date: 3/1/2023

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder typically impacts a person’s sense of identity and therefore individuals with BPD exhibit some or all of the following symptoms.

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Anger management issues
  • Intense fear of being alone
  • Turbulent interpersonal relationships
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Self-harm and crisis behavior
  • Distortion of self-identity
  • Intermittent dissociation

Causes and Risk Factors of Borderline Personality Disorder

The causes of borderline personality disorder are not known, as with most other mental health disorders, but are thought to have multiple contributors, ranging from genetic to environmental factors.


Genetics are suggested as one possible cause of BPD, where individuals with a family history of borderline personality disorder are more prone to be diagnosed with BPD.

Environmental Risk Factors

Environmental factors such as childhood trauma, physical or sexual abuse, abandonment or neglect from parents may lead to borderline personality disorder.

Impaired Brain Functions

Impaired brain functions due to reduced serotonin may lead to unregulated emotions, impulsive moods and aggressive behaviors.

Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

Treatment can be successful for most patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.


Commonly known as talk therapy, all forms of psychotherapy, including group therapy and family therapy, have been seen as the most effective treatment for borderline personality disorder.

Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be helpful for treating BPD. Specialized CBT treatments including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Schema Focused Therapy (SFT) have been specifically developed for borderline personality disorder.

Medical Treatment

Medications may sometimes be prescribed to regulate the brain’s neurotransmitters, especially if the individual is diagnosed with co-occurring mental health issues such as depression or PTSD.

Should you see a doctor?

Symptoms exhibited by individuals with borderline personality disorder can be disturbing to their family and friends. Some suicidal behaviors such as cutting and other self-injury can be risky and needing immediate attention.

If you recognize the symptoms discussed above in yourself or your loved one, seek help right away to obtain a diagnosis. Treatment is certainly available and effective for borderline personality disorder, allowing most individuals with BPD to go on to live happy, successful lives.

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