Borderline Personality Disorder: What Is It?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by a painful mix of emotional turmoil, unstable relationships and self-image, and self-destructive impulsivity. People with the disorder are volatile, hard on those close to them and quick to feel abandoned or betrayed. They are at high risk for dangerous or suicidal behavior.

Until recently, borderline personality disorder wasn’t diagnosed in anyone under 18. But new understanding of the disorder has changed that, and more effective treatments have greatly improved the prognosis for someone with BPD. Experts now stress that symptoms develop in adolescence, and treating BPD as early as possible leads to better long-term outcomes.