Signs Of Borderline Personality Disorder

July 7, 2023

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects how you think and feel about yourself and others, leading to instability in moods, behaviors, relationships, and identity. BPD can be difficult to diagnose even for experienced medical professionals because its symptoms mimic other emotional or psychiatric illnesses. However, by recognizing the signs of borderline personality disorder, it can help someone determine when they should seek help. 

Overview of Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is a mental health disorder characterized by an inability to regulate strong emotions. Those with BPD often have difficulty managing their relationships or regulating intense emotional states and may display signs of impulsivity, including self-harming behaviors or substance abuse. 

Other key symptoms include fear of abandonment, persistent depressive episodes, feelings of emptiness and irritability, and mood swings that can make maintaining friendships and healthy partnerships challenging. Although the condition has been controversial due to its complexity and unpredictability, recent advances have contributed to a better understanding of this disorder. 

How Many People Have BPD?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 1.4% of adults in the US have BPD. There are also higher numbers among certain populations. For instance, about 75% of those with BPD are women.

BPD may be more common than previously thought because it can be misdiagnosed, and its symptoms can sometimes overlap with other disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or bipolar disorder. It is also important to note that the prevalence of BPD appears to increase with age, making early identification and treatment essential for those struggling with their emotions.

Signs of Undiagnosed BPD

The signs of borderline personality disorder can be subtle and difficult to recognize. It is important to be aware that certain personality traits when taken together, may suggest an underlying diagnosis. Common symptoms may include:

  • Emotional instability
  • Fear of abandonment or rejection
  • Extreme “all-or-nothing” thinking
  • Feeling empty inside
  • Difficulty controlling anger
  • Pervasive sense of helplessness or isolation

These symptoms can vary from person to person depending on the severity and various characteristics present in each individual’s life. It is important to remember that these signs are not diagnostic by themselves. Only a professional mental health provider can confirm the presence (or absence) of BPD. 

Secondary-Signs of BPD

In addition to the above core symptoms, there are secondary signs of BPD to look out for. These include risky behaviors, such as spending sprees, increased sexual promiscuity, or making impulsive decisions that could put one’s life in danger. Even people who may not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of BPD may display these secondary traits due to an inability to manage intense emotions effectively. 

What Is Quiet BPD?

Quiet BPD is a term sometimes used to describe people who do not display typical symptoms or behaviors associated with borderline personality disorder. This can include being non-confrontational, not engaging in impulsive or extreme behaviors, and even displaying coping skills, such as good problem-solving abilities. 

However, while outwardly the person appears fine, inwardly, they are struggling with their emotions. The intensity of emotions and instability within relationships still exist. They often experience some signs of borderline personality disorder, like a range of emotions, and also feel guilt and shame, as well as low self-esteem. 

How Someone Develops BPD

Many theories exist as to what causes someone to develop BPD. Some suggest it is rooted in childhood trauma, while others believe a genetic predisposition could be triggered by certain environmental factors. 

In addition, some people may have personality styles or attachment patterns which make them particularly vulnerable to intense and erratic emotions. While the exact cause of borderline personality disorder is not yet fully understood, treatment options are available for those suffering from its symptoms.

Treating BPD

When someone is struggling with BPD, there is hope for improvement. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and mentalization-based therapy (MBT) are two treatment approaches that have been found to be effective in managing symptoms of BPD. Both therapies focus on teaching individuals how to better regulate intense emotions, recognize unhealthy thinking patterns and develop healthier relationships with others. With the right help and guidance, recovery and remission are possible for those who suffer from this disorder.

Holistic Therapies That Help BPD

In addition to traditional treatment methods, there are several holistic therapies available that are helpful for managing the symptoms of BPD. These include:

  • Yoga and Meditation: Helps reduce stress levels and regulate emotions.
  • Music or Art Therapy: Helps explore feelings in a safe environment without having to articulate those feelings verbally. 
  • Exercise: Helps boost endorphin levels and improve mood.
  • Support Groups: Provides understanding, validation, and guidance with others also struggling with BPD. 
  • Nutrition Counseling and Education: Eating a balanced diet supports better mental health and physical well-being.  

Any or all of these approaches may prove beneficial in coping with the challenge of BPD. 


BPD is an often difficult yet complex disorder to diagnose and treat due to its diverse presentations and wide range of symptoms affecting the personal, physiological, and psychological aspects of life. Recognizing the underlying signs and early identification can help those suffering from this condition manage their day-to-day lives more effectively while improving their overall well-being. 

Begin Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment in Chattanooga, TN

At Time Wellness Tennessee, our mental health specialists provide compassionate and caring support with personalized treatment options for people with borderline personality disorder and other mental health conditions. Our objective is to help you live a productive, fulfilling life.

Contact us today to learn how to cope with your symptoms for a better life.