Borderline Personality Disorder Signs, Symptoms and Effects


Understanding the signs, symptoms, and effects of borderline personality disorder is an important step toward getting help for yourself or your loved one. Haverhill Pavilion Behavioral Health Hospital in Haverhill, Massachusetts, is a source of accurate information, reliable guidance, and comprehensive solutions for adults and older adults who have been struggling with borderline personality disorder.

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Learn about borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is an illness that can cause a person to struggle with symptoms such as instability, impulsivity, and diminished self-esteem. The short-term and long-term effects of borderline personality disorder can have a dramatic negative impact on a person’s ability to live a productive and satisfying life.

Individuals who develop borderline personality disorder often have an overwhelming fear that they are going to be abandoned or rejected by others. Additional signs, symptoms, and effects of borderline personality disorder include self-destructive behaviors, dramatic mood swings, and the inability to form and maintain healthy relationships.

Diagnoses of borderline personality disorder typically occur during adulthood.

The signs, symptoms, and effects of borderline personality disorder can cause significant distress. But with effective professional help, people who have BPD can achieve improved quality of life.

Signs & Symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is associated with a variety of signs and symptoms. Depending upon a host of individual factors, the signs and symptoms of BPD can vary widely from person to person. In general, though, the following are among the more common signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Impulsive self-defeating behavior patterns, such as abusing alcohol or other drugs, engaging in unsafe sex, driving recklessly, or binge-eating
  • Frequently fighting, arguing, or otherwise demonstrating inappropriate anger
  • Changing career plans or other goal-oriented behaviors often and with little apparent forethought
  • Acting frantically to prevent others from abandoning or rejecting you, even when there is no realistic likelihood that they will do so
  • Engaging in self-harm
  • Recurrent discussions of suicide, including suicidal threats
  • Attempting suicide

Mental symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Dramatic changes in self-image
  • Dissociation (feeling as though you are detached from yourself)
  • Dysphoria (pervasive feeling of unease or generalized dissatisfaction)
  • Pervasive fear of being abandoned, rejected, or otherwise ostracized
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts

Short-Term Effects

Possible short-term effects of borderline personality disorder

The symptoms of BPD can lead to a variety of negative effects. In the immediate aftermath of the onset of symptoms, a person may start to experience several short-term effects of borderline personality disorder, such as the following:

  • Strained relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and others
  • Struggling to make progress in school
  • Difficulties meeting performance expectations at work
  • Medical problems related to impulsivity, recklessness, or uncontrolled anger
  • Legal problems related to impulsivity, recklessness, or uncontrolled anger
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Beginning to experience signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Thoughts of suicide

It is essential to note that the short-term effects of borderline personality disorder can cause great harm. Describing these outcomes as short-term effects is not meant to imply that they are not serious or dangerous.

If you have been experiencing short-term effects of borderline personality disorder, or if a loved one has been impacted by the short-term effects of BPD, you need to seek effective professional care. When you get proper care, you can learn to manage your symptoms and minimize your risk for continued harm.

Long-Term Effects

Potential long-term effects of borderline personality disorder

The longer a person goes without getting proper care for BPD, the greater their risk becomes for experiencing long-term effects of this disorder. While order of onset, duration, and severity can vary from person to person, the following are among the many potential long-term effects of borderline personality disorder:

  • End of relationships with friends and family members
  • Loss of personal support network
  • Worsening symptoms of co-occurring disorders
  • Diminished physical health due to self-defeating behaviors
  • Addiction
  • Academic failure and expulsion
  • Inability to find and keep a job
  • Pervasive hopelessness and helplessness
  • Isolation
  • Self-harm
  • Suicide

As with the short-term effects that were discussed in the previous section, the long-term effects of borderline personality disorder can be extremely distressing. Anyone who experiences the long-term effects of borderline personality disorder should consult with a qualified professional. Failing to get proper care to address the long-term effects of borderline personality disorder can expose you to significant ongoing harm.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who have borderline personality disorder

People who develop borderline personality disorder may be at elevated risk for certain co-occurring disorders. The term “co-occurring disorders” is used by clinicians to describe the experience of a person who struggles with two or more disorders at the same time. In the case of borderline personality disorder, the following are among the more common co-occurring disorders:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorders (this is the clinical term for addiction)

It’s important to note that researchers have not identified a definitive cause-effect relationship between borderline personality disorder and the co-occurring disorders listed above. In some cases, a person experiences the signs, symptoms, and effects of borderline personality disorder first, then develops the co-occurring disorder. In other cases, the pattern of onset is reversed. Also, many people experience borderline personality disorder without developing any co-occurring disorders at all.

The possible presence of co-occurring disorders is one of the many reasons why comprehensive care is essential in helping adults who have been living with the signs, symptoms, and effects of borderline personality disorder. Getting professional help from a source that can address co-occurring disorders as well as borderline personality disorder will put you or your loved one in the best position to make continued progress and experience sustainable improvements in quality of life.


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