What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?


Quick Answer

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, borderline personality disorder is a serious mental disorder characterized by a person's unstable moods, relationships and behaviors. The disorder can also cause brief periods of psychosis, which early experts thought were typical or borderline signs of other mental health conditions. Though the name is considered misleading, no appropriate title for the condition exists.

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Full Answer

People who suffer from BPD have trouble regulating their thoughts, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. They are also prone to impulsive and sometimes reckless behavior and develop unstable relationships with people. People with this disorder are also prone to other disorders, such as depression, substance abuse, eating disorders and suicidal behavior. Though the cause for BPD is unknown, experts agree that genetic and environmental factors are likely to be involved.

Studies suggest there is a strong link through inheritance with the disorder, meaning a person may inherit parts of her parent's personality and temperament, particularly impulsiveness and aggression. Living with a family prone to unstable relationships is also a risk factor. Treatments for BPD include various types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Some doctors may recommend the use of medicine to help control symptoms. However, the National Institute of Mental Health notes that no drug has been FDA approved to treat BPD and only a few studies show medicine is necessary at all.

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