Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A personality disorder is a type of mental illness and to be diagnosed particular criteria must be met. With personality disorders, the symptoms have usually been present for a long time. These symptoms have an overall negative affect on the person's life.

One of the core signs and symptoms in BPD is the proneness to impulsive behaviour. This impulsiveness can manifest itself in negative ways. For example, self-harm is common among individuals with BPD and in many instances, this is an impulsive act. Sufferers of BPD can also be prone to angry outbursts and possibly criminal offences (mainly in male sufferers) as a result of impulsive urges.

Another common feature of BPD is affective/emotional lability. This means that sufferers have trouble stabilising moods and as a result, mood changes can become erratic. Other characteristics of this condition include reality distortion, tendency to see things in ‘black and white’ terms, excessive behaviour such as gambling or sexual promiscuity, and proneness to depression.

These traits can sometimes make it very difficult for a person to maintain a relationship with someone with BPD as their behaviour and actions can be difficult to tolerate and hard to understand. It is important for persons close to a BPD sufferer to educate themselves on the condition so they can empathise with what the sufferer is going through and how they are feeling.