Borderline personality disorder

Synonyms: BPD

Medical Specialties: Psychiatry

Clinical Definition

Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is considered a serious mental illness. It's one of a group of conditions under the umbrella term of personality disorders. Those with BPD have often intense, unstable emotions and engage in risky behaviors such as overspending, unsafe sex or abusing drugs and alcohol.

In Our Own Words

Borderline personality disorder or BPD is a mental illness caused by a combination of biological and psychological factors. Those diagnosed may be born with a vulnerability to BPD and then later, symptoms may be triggered by stress or other factors such as abuse, inconsistent parenting or childhood trauma.

Those with BPD often have chaotic interpersonal relationships, mood swings and impulsive behavior. To diagnose BPD, doctors take a careful history to rule out other illnesses first; recommended treatments may include psychotherapy (''talk therapy'') and medication. 

Relevant Conditions
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse, addiction
Side Effects
  • Mood swings
  • Discomfort when alone
  • Unstable personal relationships
Share this article
  • The Cleveland Clinic. "Borderline Personality Disorder." Diseases & Conditions. Apr. 2010. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • American Psychological Association. "Help for personality disorders" 2013. Accessed Aug. 2013.
  • Harvard Health Publications. "Treating borderline personality disorder." Harvard Mental Health Newsletter. June 2010. Accessed Aug. 2013.
Keep Reading

Investigate your bodys signs and signals.
Try Symptom Checker