What is borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is an illness that makes your emotions feel difficult to cope with. It can affect your relationships with other people. Around 1 in 100 people have BPD. It is believed to affect men and women equally, though women are more likely to be given this diagnosis.

It is called ‘borderline’ because doctors previously thought that it was on the border between two different disorders: neurosis and psychosis. But these terms are no longer used to describe mental illness. It is sometimes called emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD).

Everyone’s experiences of BPD are different, but you may have problems with:

  • Feeling isolated or abandoned
  • Self-harming or suicidal thoughts
  • Coping with stress
  • Strong emotions that you find difficult to manage
  • Misusing alcohol, drugs or prescription drugs
  • Understanding other people’s point of view
  • Maintaining relationships, work and home

You need to experience 5 symptoms to get a diagnosis of BPD.

Some people feel that the name of the condition labels or insults them. However, doctors don’t use this term to make you feel judged or to suggest the illness if your fault. It only describes the way the illness develops.

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