A child who is nurtured by caring and loving parents can develop a deep sense of attachment and security. With age, that child also creates bonds with other people, such as friends, colleagues or a spouse. These bonds are important and it is normal to have a little fear of losing them.
People with borderline personality disorder have an intense fear of losing loved ones. They feel easily rejected or abandoned by others, which creates conflicts in their social relationships. Therefore, they have a strong need to be reassured that people around them are present and that these relationships are important.
Borderline personality disorder affects how people suffering from it think. It impairs:
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder usually appear in adolescence or early adulthood.
Family and friends may notice several signs of borderline personality disorder in a person suffering from it. They include:
A person suffering from borderline personality disorder can have varying degrees of symptoms.
The most common symptoms include:
A person suffering from borderline personality disorder can have other mental disorders or problems at the same time:
You may have difficulty recognizing symptoms if you are suffering from borderline personality disorder. Do not wait until you are unable to go about your daily activities before consulting.
See a doctor or another health-care professional if you are experiencing one of the following situations:
A health-care professional can assess whether you have borderline personality disorder. It could be necessary to conduct a physical exam or laboratory tests. You will be proposed a treatment plan that is adapted to your needs.
See the Help and Resources section to find resources available to you.
If you have suicidal thoughts and fear for your safety, or that of people around you, read Preventing Suicide. You will find further information on available help and resources.
Effective treatments for borderline personality disorder are available. Clinical studies show that a person's condition improves significantly when the disorder is detected quickly and adequate treatment is provided.
Treatments allow patients to regain control of their life and their daily activities. However, some symptoms may reappear if the person experiences difficult events such as the death of a loved one or significant failure at work or at school.
In most cases, borderline personality disorder is treatable through psychotherapy. It is sometimes appropriate to combine different types of psychotherapies.
Some people must also take medication.
Experts recommend various psychotherapies to treat borderline personality disorder. Psychotherapies are generally designed to help patients better understand and control their emotions and reduce their self-destructive behaviour.
Patients may engage in psychotherapy either individually or in a group.
There is no medication specifically designed to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. However, some medicines are recommended to allow the person to:
Different medication can be used, including:
Your doctor will suggest medication that suits you best depending on your health condition.
If your doctor prescribes you medicines, it is important to take them by carefully following instructions provided.
If you have uncomfortable side-effects due to the medication, discuss the issue with your doctor promptly. They will likely recommend another medicine.
People with borderline personality disorder often try to control pain related to emotions they feel by drinking or using drugs. As such, they can develop a substance addiction.
Self-destructive behaviour such as self-harm and suicidal acts can lead to physical scars or permanent handicap.
Preventing symptoms of borderline personality disorder is not always possible. However, if you have symptoms associated with this disorder, you can act now. Advice for maintaining good mental health will help you change certain lifestyle habits. This subsequently allows you to eliminate factors that worsen or that maintain your condition.
Borderline personality disorder does not have a single cause. It is often a combination of many factors that lead to the development of the disorder. Here are examples of a few factors:
In adults, more women suffer from borderline personality disorder than men.
People around a person suffering from borderline personality disorder can be extremely affected by his or her illness and be preoccupied by the self-destructive behaviour. They can experience fear, anger and powerlessness. Just like the person suffering, they need help and support to understand this personality disorder.
If you would like to help a loved one suffering from a mental illness, read Living with a Person Suffering from Mental Illness to learn how to help within your limits.
People with borderline personality disorder are often victims of prejudice. The person suffering may behave very similarly to what is socially acceptable. As such, some may believe that he or she can change with a bit of effort. However, the behaviour of the person suffering does not change. Others can then interpret it as a lack of willingness.
To learn more about prejudices, their impact and how to fight them, read Fighting the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness.
Resources are available for help and to obtain more information about borderline personality disorder:
You can also consult the Mental Health (Mental Illness) page for more available resources.
To receive care or services, or to find a psychotherapist with whom you are comfortable, contact one of the following resources:
To find contact information for your family medicine clinic, your CISSS or your CIUSSS, go to Finding a Resource.
Last update: November 16, 2016 10:02 AM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.