Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a medical condition that is considered a mental or psychological illness. It is quite common, affecting about 2% of adults; however, it is highly treatable once diagnosed. That’s why it’s important that symptoms be recognized at the onset. Being a psychological illness, however, in some cases BPD can be misconstrued as simply a character flaw or weakness. So how does one recognize a borderline personality disorder? Here are some of its major symptoms:
- Wild mood swings. A person with BPD can be very, very happy at one moment and then suddenly, irrationally depressed the next. This is differentiated from bipolar disorder wherein the moods last for a longer period; in BPD, it lasts for a few hours or at most, a day.
- Extreme emotion and difficulty controlling emotions. A sufferer would feel extreme emotion at the slightest reason, or in other words, the level of anger, anxiety, worry or depression he might feel is often unwarranted by the situation that triggered it. For example, he might explode at a joke aimed at him, or he might feel terribly upset over being left alone at home. In extreme cases, a sufferer might exhibit his extreme emotions by being physically, verbally or emotionally abusive even towards his loved ones.
- Distorted self-image. A person with BPD might have feelings of unworthiness and may rely heavily on other people’s approval. He may feel a grave need for others in order for him to survive. In many cases, sufferers feel very depressed and anxious if somebody they love goes away for even a short period of time. Some BPD sufferers may also have no clear idea as to their own identity; they would attempt only to be what they perceive others to want them to be.
- Being impulsive. BPD can bring about recklessness when it comes to money, driving, sex, or one’s health. Obvious manifestations of this would be detrimental actions such as uncontrollable shopping urges, accumulated traffic violations, unprotected sex, binge eating, and addiction to drugs. If you or a loved one constantly do any of these, coupled with any of the other BPD symptoms then it could perhaps not be the problem itself but a manifestation of a deeper, underlying condition.
- Intense passion or hate for an object or thing. It is common for a BPD sufferer to either love a person/object or hate it; there is just no middle ground. Also, it could occur that a person would have strong affection for something, and in the space of an hour feel severe loathing towards it. Mostly it’s just black or white for him, and nothing in between.
- Attempts at one’s life. A sufferer could attempt suicide during his depressive or hopeless state; self-mutilation or inflicting injury upon one’s self could also occur.
These are just some of the symptoms that a person is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. The key, as with any other medical condition, is awareness. If you realize that a loved one is suffering from BPD then offer him your love and understanding and together, begin to seek treatment from a trusted medical practitioner.