Borderline personality disorder

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder characterized by:

  • Chronic instability of emotions, self-image, relationships
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Intense fear of abandonment and emptiness

Diagnostic criteria

A pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by 5 or more of the following:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  2. A pattern of intense and unstable interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense, episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger (temper)
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Possible history of childhood physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

75% of diagnosed cases are women