Borderline Personality Disorder: Can You Spot the Signs?

Borderline Personality Disorder: Can You Spot the Signs?

NIH estimates that nearly 10 percent of Americans have borderline personality disorder and/or narcissistic personality disorder, which represents around 23 million people in the United States alone. So it is quite likely that you have come in contact with people with borderline personality disorder, yet never realized it.

Unlike sociopaths, who fit into one of the more commonly known personality disorders, people with borderline personality disorder still remain somewhat under the radar. If you come across someone suffering from it, you may be left feeling confused and personally affected—especially if you are unaware of how this mental disorder works.

Often times people with personality disorders are hesitant to consult with a mental health professional to get the diagnosis and help that they may need. As such, they are unable to recognize how their behavior and emotions impact those around them. So for those dealing with loved ones with borderline personality disorder, life can be stressful, perplexing, and full of conflict.

Those affected by the disorder are frequently insulting, experience regular bouts of rage, and make seemingly unfair and unreasonable accusations. Furthermore, you may have discovered that reacting in a defensive way or trying to make them see your side, only served to escalate their fury and angst. Simply put, the wiring of their brain makes it almost impossible for them to see someone else’s perspective or to have empathy with that person.

Here are the symptoms to look for, if you suspect someone may have borderline personality disorder.

  • Chronic fear of rejection or abandonment: they can lash out quite badly if they feel as though are losing hold of someone they are close to
  • Impulsive and risky behaviors such as taking drugs, gambling, unsafe sex, binge drinking, and going on spending sprees
  • Inability to empathize with others
  • Intense mood swings that go from highs to lows
  • Severe rage and anxiety issues that can lead to screaming and breaking or throwing things
  • Unable to have stable relationships: whether romantic or platonic, relationships can be difficult to maintain as they tend to verge from feeling that the person is perfect to harboring an extreme hatred for the person
  • Acute suspicion and paranoia: they often over-analyse other people’s motives and accuse them of things that are so unreasonable it seems as though they have lost touch with reality (disassociation)
  • A persistent feeling of emptiness
  • Thoughts of self-harm and indications of suicidal behavior

Studies suggest that borderline personality disorder may be resultant of genetics or of an unstable childhood. In essence, the brains of sufferers operate mostly in a high-alert mode, which consequently can bypass their rational brain’s processes.

At present, there is no known cure for borderline personality disorder nor are there any FDA-approved drugs to treat it. There are, however, medicines that may assist with other issues such as anxiety, mood swings, and depression.

Psychotherapy could potentially assist in improving rational thought and managing emotions, although any personality disorder is quite challenging to combat—even with professional help.

Do you suspect you may be dating a sociopath? Check out the signs in my article here to find out if you are!

Originally published on

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