Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - About
What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?
BPD is a type of ‘personality disorder’. It is an illness that makes you struggle with your emotions and this can affect your relationships with other people. Around 1 in 100 people have BPD. It seems to affect men and women equally, but women are more likely to have this diagnosis. This may be because men are less likely to ask for help. Everyone will experience BPD differently. If you have BPD, you may have problems with:
- feeling isolated or abandoned by others,
- self-harming or suicidal thoughts,
- coping with stress,
- getting on with other people,
- strong emotions that you find hard to cope with,
- misusing alcohol and prescription drugs,
- illegal drugs and substances,
- understanding other people’s points of view,
- staying in work,
- having a long-term relationship, or
- being able to maintain a home.
It is called ‘borderline’ because doctors used to think it was on the border between two different disorders: neurosis and psychosis. Doctors no longer like to use these terms to describe mental illness. It is sometimes called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). Some people feel that this describes the illness better.
Some people with a personality disorder think that the name is insulting or makes them feel labelled. But doctors do not use this term to make you feel judged or suggest that the illness is your fault. It is meant to describe the way the illness develops.
On a bad day, my distress levels go through the roof. I feel unloved, empty and helpless. I feel worse when my partner goes out to see friends, which makes me feel like they don’t care about me. At times I hate everyone and everything, which I deal with by cutting myself with a razor and by drinking alcohol.
You can find more information about ‘Personality disorders’ here.
What are the different types of BPD?
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD). In England, doctors use both of these terms.
If your doctor says you have EUPD, they may say you have ‘borderline’ or ‘impulsive’ type EUPD. There are small differences but there is some overlap between these illnesses.
If you have borderline-type EUPD you may have more difficulties with relationships, self-harming and feelings of emptiness.
If you have impulsive-type EUPD you may have more difficulties with impulsive behaviour and angry feelings.
What causes BPD?
It is not clear exactly what causes BPD. There are different factors that can lead to someone getting borderline personality disorder (BPD). The main causes seem to be the following:
- Traumatic childhood. You might have experienced difficulties in your childhood. This could include neglect or being abandoned by a parent. Or physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
- Brain problems. You might have slight differences in your brain.
- Genetics. Some research shows that BPD may be passed on through genes. But there is no clear evidence that there is a gene that causes BPD.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays