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Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder. It is marked by anxiety, fear of abandonment, self-loathing, and mood swings. It is defined by The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5. The DSM-5 is published by the American Psychiatric Association. They list the following criteria.

BPD is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotion, as well as marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by extremes between idealization and devaluation (also known as “splitting”)
  • Identity disturbance: Markedly or persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsive behavior in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-harming behavior
  • Emotional instability in reaction to day-to-day events (e.g., intense episodic sadness, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

This is a significant change from the previous definition of BPD. The new definition was published in 2013. Thus, older studies on BPD may include people who would not currently be diagnosed with BPD.

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