Causes & Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder

Understanding BPD

Learn about Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition that can prevent someone from living a happy, healthy life. The cornerstone to BPD is a fear of abandonment and unpredictable mood swings. Several troubling symptoms, including distorted self-perceptions, suicidal behaviors, and compulsion to self-injure can make those struggling with this condition feel trapped.

Thankfully, BPD can be treated through professional, comprehensive care. Through treatment, symptoms can be managed and skills can be developed so that those who have this condition do not have to live in distress any longer.


Statistics about Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is widely studied by researchers throughout the world. To gain a stronger perception into the prevalence of this condition, consider the following statistics:

  • Six to ten million people have symptoms of BPD within the United States alone
  • BPD affects twice the amount of people than bipolar disorder and schizophrenia
  • Women are more likely to have BPD, as it has been reported that 75% of all people diagnosed with BPD are female

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Borderline Personality Disorder

There are several different causes and risk factors that can play a role in the development of borderline personality disorder. Both genetics and one’s environment can have an impact on whether or not he or she is more likely to experience this condition. Some of the most common causes and risk factors for BPD can include:

  • Having a first-degree relative with BPD
  • Exposure to chronic conflict and stress
  • Poor attachment to primary caregivers in early development
  • Personal history of substance abuse/addiction
  • Experiencing abuse
  • Being neglected

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

The signs and symptoms of BPD can vary from person to person, especially as symptoms of this condition tend to fluctuate in severity. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of BPD include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Displaying episodes of excessive and hysterical crying
  • Exhibiting extreme reactions to perceived abandonment, regardless of whether or not that abandonment truly exists
  • Engaging in “stormy” relationships, whereupon an individual consistently alternates between feelings of idealization and feelings of devaluation of his or her friends, family members, and other loved ones
  • Chronically engaging in self-harming behaviors
  • Participating in explosive outbursts
  • Lacking the ability to control one’s anger and acting out aggressively as a result

Physical symptoms:

  • Noticeable weight loss or weight gain
  • Presence of injuries resulting from self-injurious behaviors
  • Significant shifts in eating habits
  • Alterations in one’s need for sleep

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Delusions
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Episodes of dissociation
  • Periods of depersonalization
  • Periods of derealization

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Chronic feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Intense shifts in mood
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Fluctuating self-image
  • Pervasive and all-consuming feelings of loneliness and emptiness
  • Extremely low self-esteem
  • Deteriorated sense of self-worth

Lasting Effects

Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder

When the symptoms of BPD persist and treatment is not obtained, several effects can develop and begin to negatively impact one’s life. Some of these effects can include the following:

  • Making repeated attempts at suicide
  • Dying as a result of suicide (estimates have been provided stating that approximately 10% of people who receive a clinical diagnosis of borderline personality disorder end their lives by suicide)
  • Severe relationship disturbances
  • Significant familial discord
  • Deterioration of one’s physical health
  • Engaging in chronic self-harming behaviors
  • Inability to obtain or maintain steady employment
  • Experiencing financial strife as a result of being unable to hold down a job
  • Demoralized sense of self

Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Substance Abuse or Mental Health Issues

Many people who have BPD also grapple with symptoms of other mental health conditions. This is known as a co-occurring disorder. Those who have BPD are more likely to experience symptoms of the following mental health conditions:

  • Eating disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use disorders
Our Joint Commission accreditation shows our focus on quality care.