The DSM-IV lists nine major diagnostic criteria to diagnose patients with emotionally unstable personality disorder, also known as borderline personality disorder, according to BPD World. In general, emotionally unstable people are characterized by fluctuating interpersonal relationships that destabilize quickly.
A person's emotional instability is normally present in varied settings such as work, home, school and in public. Most of the person's interactions fluctuate rapidly back and forth between emotional extremes in otherwise normal situations, notes BPD World. Most relationships are considered shallow, and a patient may show impulsive behaviors.
A person diagnosed with borderline personality disorder exhibits at least six of nine known behaviors associated with the psychological disorder, according to BPD World. A patient may make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Unstable interpersonal relationships are marked by wild swings between idealization and devaluation. Someone with borderline personality disorder may have an unstable sense of self-worth, and this person may make several harmful, impulsive acts. Borderline personality disorder is associated with recurrent thoughts and attempts of suicide. Mood instability lasts from a few hours to a few days.
A patient notices chronic feelings of loneliness and emptiness with borderline personality disorder. Intense feelings of anger and paranoia also mark this disorder, according to BPD World. Symptoms of borderline personality disorder may overlap with other maladies, notes WebMD. Someone who thinks they have borderline personality disorder should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.