What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Mental Health

North Central Health Care's Dr. Richard Immler sat down with Holly Chilsen of WSAW NewsChannel 7 to talk about BPD, its characteristics, treatment and valuable insight to the therapy that may help individuals with with mental health disorder. Thank you for your time in sharing this information with our community Dr. Immler.

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.

With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.

Borderline personality disorder usually begins by early adulthood. The condition seems to be worse in young adulthood and may gradually get better with age.

If you have borderline personality disorder, don't get discouraged. Many people with this disorder get better over time with treatment and can learn to live satisfying lives.

Symptoms

Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn't care enough or is cruel
  • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don't exist at all
  • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
  • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
  • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights

When to see a doctor

If you're aware that you have any of the signs or symptoms above, talk to your doctor or a mental health provider. You can contact NCHC Outpatient Services for a referral appointment at 715-848-4358. You can find more information on our website about Outpatient Mental Health Services.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If you have fantasies or mental images about hurting yourself or have other suicidal thoughts, get help right away by taking one of these actions:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
  • Call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) any time of day. 
  • If you live in Marathon, Lincoln or Langlade County in Wisconsin, call North Central Health Care Crisis Services at 1-800-799-0122. They are available 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.
  • Call your mental health provider, doctor or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a loved one, close friend, trusted peer or co-worker.
  • Contact someone from your faith community.

If you notice signs or symptoms in a family member or friend, talk to that person about seeing a doctor or mental health provider. But you can't force someone to seek help. If the relationship causes you significant stress, you may find it helpful to see a therapist yourself.