Intense love. Inappropriate rage. Extreme hatred. Many of us experience these feelings from time to time. Now, imagine what it feels like to have all these concentrated emotions daily. This emotional roller coaster is characteristic of someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
About Borderline Personality Disorder
Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder and other personality disorders experience strong emotions flaring up and diminishing quite rapidly, often within hours. With few understanding the source of their feelings, people living with Borderline Personality Disorder get little or no sympathy from those around them.
Borderline Personality Disorder is often characterized by mood swings, instability of relationships, difficulties with long-term planning and impulse control and problems with self-identity. One of the key symptoms is an obsessive fear of abandonment—desperately wanting close relationships while simultaneously pushing people away with impulsive, irrational behavior. Individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder have an elevated incidence of harming themselves through self-mutilation (i.e., cutting, burning) and suicidal gestures.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 1.6 percent of U.S. adults are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but it could be as high as 5.9 percent. Nearly 75 percent of those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder are women and often require hospitalization because of the severity of their symptoms.
Individuals diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder have symptoms identified with the mnemonic PRAISE:
Abandonment fears, angry outbursts, affective instability
Identity disturbance, impulsive behavior
Because of the severe instability of emotions and impulsive behaviors, individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to say, “I feel like I’m losing my mind” or “I’m so misunderstood.” Often, they are perceived as emotionally unstable from those who know them and have difficulties maintaining jobs, completing their education, or experiencing fulfilling relationships.
Common Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
- Obsessive abandonment issues
- Feeling misunderstood
- Suicidal gestures
- Physical altercations
- Suicidal threats
- Emotionally overly reactive
- Self-mutilating behaviors
- Impulsive behavior
- Affective instability
- Impulsive, unprotected sex
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate angry outbursts
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Loss of reality
- Binge eating
- Impulsive spending
- Low self-esteem
- Reckless driving
- Repeated job losses