Borderline Personality Disorder: What Is It?

Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is a pervasive pattern of emotional turmoil, instability in relationships, and self-destructive behavior, including suicide attempts. Adolescents or young adults with BPD have intense relationships characterized by sudden and dramatic shifts from idealizing to devaluing the other person. They feel chronically misunderstood and at risk of abandonment;  frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned often blow up relationships they are trying to protect.

With distorted and unstable images of themselves, people with BPD experience feelings of emptiness, worthlessness and self-hatred, which they attempt to escape through impulsive and often self-destructive behaviors, including alcohol and drug abuse, unhealthy sex, self-injury, and suicide attempts.

BPD, which develops in adolescents and young adults, can be severely disabling and dangerous, but with treatment, most people with BPD can learn to regulate extreme emotions and dramatically improve their lives.

For a more detailed explanation from BPD experts, read What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?