Explains borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a type of personality disorder.
You might be diagnosed with a personality disorder if you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result.
"Everything in the world hurts more than it seems to for everyone else and any 'thick skin' [I am] supposed to have just isn't there."
You might be given a diagnosis of BPD if you experience at least five of the following things, and they've lasted for a long time or have a big impact on your daily life:
"The worst part of my BPD is the insecure relationships…when I am attached to someone, they are my whole world and it is crippling. I care so deeply about how long they take to reply to an email, or their tone of voice, because I'm so afraid of losing them."
Because you only need to experience five of these difficulties to be given a diagnosis of BPD or EUPD, it can be a very broad diagnosis which includes lots of different people with very different experiences.
Some people find it helpful to have a diagnosis because they feel it explains and helps people to understand their difficulties, or gives them a sense of relief and validation.
Others feel their diagnosis isn't helpful, disagreeing entirely with the current system of diagnosing personality disorders and finding it stigmatising and unhelpful. For example, some people prefer not to describe their experiences as medical problems, or would rather see them as a response to difficult life events. Our page on why personality disorder is a controversial diagnosis has more information.
"Even though I haven't been offered much support, just having a diagnosis helps me feel my suffering is validated."
Lechelle and Debbie talk about having borderline personality disorder and how a combination of medication and dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) has helped them develop the skills to manage it.
"I don't necessarily tell people I have BPD because I don't like labelling myself, I just say I have depression and anxiety because it's easier. But I know I have BPD. I feel things so intensely sometimes it means I lose control of all my senses. It's one of the worst feelings, but I have learnt how to cope with it."
This information was published in January 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.