Borderline Personality Disorder Basics

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Borderline Personality Disorder: What to Look For

People who develop BPD are highly emotionally reactive — they feel things more intensely than other people and, once upset, take a longer time to calm down. Symptoms of the disorder you might see include extreme emotions, rapid mood swings, and what clinicians call black-and-white thinking: something (or someone) is great one minute and terrible the next. Another symptom might be expressing intense feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and fear of abandonment. Efforts to escape those painful feelings may lead to impulsive and self-destructive behavior (risky driving, unsafe sex, alcohol and substance abuse, and self-injury like cutting). Lack of a solid sense of self might lead to being overly influenced by those around her. The most dangerous symptom of BPD is suicidal behavior, which is why getting treatment as soon as symptoms emerge, usually in adolescence, is critical.