Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the most commonly recognised personality disorder. It is a disorder of mood and how a person interacts with others. If you are having problems in your life as a result of difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, you might be diagnosed with a personality disorder.

Around 1 in 100 people have BPD, and although it seems to affect men and women equally, women are more likely to have this diagnosis – perhaps because men are less likely to reach out for support.


Symptoms of BPD

You might be given a diagnosis of BPD if you experience a number of the following things, and they have a big impact on your daily life or if they’ve been present for a long time:

  • you experience extreme reactions to feeling abandoned
  • you find it difficult to make and keep stable relationships
  • you often act impulsively and do things that could harm you (such as using drugs or driving dangerously)
  • you often self-harm or have suicidal feelings
  • you have great difficult in controlling your anger, you may often lose your temper or get into fights
  • you experience very intense and highly changeable moods

These symptoms of BPD may range from mild to severe and usually begin to emerge as a teenager, persisting into adulthood.

There are different reasons why people have BPD. A lot of people with BPD have had traumatic problems in their childhood.

Are there different types of BPD?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD.) You may find that in England, doctors use both of these terms interchangeably.

They may also clarify which type of EUPD you have, ‘borderline’ or ‘impulsive’.


If you have borderline-type EUPD, you may experience more difficulties with relationships, self-harming and general feelings of emptiness.


If you have impulsive-type EUPD, you may experience more difficulties with impulsive behaviour and feelings of anger.


When to seek medical advice

If you’re experiencing symptoms of BPD, make an appointment with your GP to discuss your feelings and what sort of impact your symptoms have had on your quality of life.

Many people with BPD can benefit from psychological or medical treatment, and effective treatment may last more than a year. Over time, many people with BPD overcome their symptoms and recover.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or at risk of harming yourself, you can contact:

– your local NHS crisis team by calling 111.
Papyrus UK’s helpline is open 10am – 10pm in the week, and between 2pm – 10pm at the weekends and bank holidays. They work with people under 35 who are having suicidal feelings, and can be contacted on 0800 068 4141
-aimed specifically at men, C.A.L.M (Campaign Against Living Miserably) can be contacted via their helpline on 0800 58 58 58 between 5pm – midnight every day of the year