Conditions and Disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is a disorder characterized by unusual or problematic ways of feeling, reacting and black and white thinking. Black and white thinking, also known as Splitting is the mechanism in which the affected thinks in only extremes: ie, people are either all bad or all good. BPD affects the person’s ability to have stable relationships and an unrealistic ideal of their sense of self. Some people with Borderline Personality Disorder exhibit self harm or suicidal thoughts while some experience irrational anger or paranoia. Those with BPD often have an unstable view of themselves and of others. They are constantly shifting between idealizing others and demonizing them.

Those with Borderline Personality Disorder are generally very sensitive and can react strongly to criticism and become very defensive. They may also be temperamentally sensitive to emotive stimuli and view the world as dangerous or unstable. Mood swings may range between anger and anxiety or depression and anxiety. People with BPD usually have feelings of victimization or failure. These extreme and irrational feelings can lead to self destructive behaviors or thoughts. Some have irrational fears of abandonment and may make desperate attempts to avoid it. Usually those affected are very impulsive and engage in reckless behavior such as drug/alochol abuse, unsafe sex, and gambling.

Some believe that the person is deliberately manipulative or difficult to deal with. Often the person dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder is struggling with some kind of painful inner turmoil. BPD has been linked to those with constant troubled relationships, abuse and unwanted pregnancies. The cause of Borderline Personality Disorder is not fully understood as it is a complex disorder but some researchers suggest it may stem from childhood abuse or neglect. Others believe it to be genetic or contingent on neurological or environmental factors. People suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder are at high risk to develop other psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Many of the subtypes of BPD result in additional behaviors and symptoms. Some characteristics of BPD may coexist with mood disorders such as bi-polar disorder.

Treatment begins with seeing a mental health professional to appropriately diagnose the condition. The doctor will monitor the patient’s behavior as they gather information from the patient’s self described experiences. Adolescents are usually not diagnosed unless the symptoms and features of BPD have been present for at least a year. Borderline Personality Disorder is most common in early adulthood.

After diagnosis by a doctor, a common form of treatment is psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication such as mood stabilizers or anti-psychotics may be prescribed by a doctor to aid the treatment process. Those struggling with BPD have also found effective treatments in the form or regular exercise, a balanced diet and a good sleep schedule. There are also support groups available for BPD sufferers. Some people with BPD that have attempted suicide or are displaying signs of self harm may choose to check into day treatment program at a hospital. Hospital treatment programs will usually provide the person with a discharge plan to help ensure long term recovery.


Call (323) 775-9177 or contact Dr. Howard Samuels by email