Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness that has a major impact on how patients view themselves and those around them. It causes a great deal of distress and difficulties with functioning in day-to-day life. This personality disorder comes with patterns of unstable relationships, extreme emotions, impulsive behaviors, and a distorted sense of self. Patients with borderline personality disorder tend to have strong fears of instability and abandonment, and they may have a hard time with solitude. At the same time, they may experience inappropriate anger and emotions toward those around them, which can make it difficult to maintain relationships. The turbulence in relationships can increase the fear of being abandoned, and the fear of abandonment can increase the heightened emotional reactions in a vicious cycle. Borderline personality disorder can be treated, and many with the disorder have healthy and satisfying lives.
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Extreme Mood Swings
One of borderline personality disorder's most defining characteristics is extreme mood swings. Patients with this condition may sometimes be mistakenly diagnosed with bipolar disorder or another mood disorder. However, the emotions in bipolar disorder tend to present differently. Bipolar disorder patient experience highs and lows over long periods. Even rapid-cycling bipolar involves mood changes over weeks, rather than hours. Meanwhile, individuals with borderline personality disorder may swing wildly from one mood to another over the course of just one conversation. They may lash out with seemingly-unprovoked anger, then be giddy within the hour, and then have a serious downturn in emotions again. Borderline personality disorder can cause patients to experience their emotions as extreme highs and lows. Environmental triggers that would usually cause stress instead cause extreme depression or upset, conflict results in uncontrollable rage, and even positive emotions can be heightened to the point of impulsive behavior.
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Pattern Of Intense And Unstable Relationship
Borderline personality disorder patients tend to have a pattern of intense, unstable relationships with others. One intense relationship isn't enough to make for a diagnosis. However, if an individual's relationships tend to become unstable and fragmented regardless of who the other party is, it may be partially caused by the individual's unhealthy approach to relationships. Individuals with borderline personality disorder can sometimes look for validation and happiness in others, believing themselves incapable of validating themselves or being happy on their own. They may become excessively attached to others and idealize them. When the individual they are attached to makes a mistake or fails to live up to expectations, this leads to a fracturing of the relationship and turbulent conflict. Conversely, if the other party decides to break off the relationship because they're too emotionally drained, this can cause a borderline personality disorder patient to experience intense feelings of self-loathing and unhappiness.
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Episodes Of Paranoia
Episodes of paranoia are common in individuals with borderline personality disorder. This paranoia can also lead to misdiagnoses, sometimes of bipolar I, sometimes of schizophrenia, and sometimes of other mood or psychotic disorders. The paranoia tends to be brought on by stress. These periods of paranoia can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours, though it's rare for them to continue for more than twenty-four hours at a time. If a borderline personality disorder patient finds out someone important to them has been hiding something from them, for example, they may become convinced everyone is hiding things. They may also come to the conclusion other individuals are keeping secrets or conspiring against them by misinterpreting behavioral cues, leading to a great deal of tension and conflict.
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Disconnect From Reality
Individuals with borderline personality disorder may experience a disconnect from reality. This may occur in conjunction with paranoid episodes, and it's often triggered by stress. It's common to have continuing feelings of emptiness or apathy. This emptiness often contributes to the fear of abandonment and feeling it's impossible to be happy while alone. When losing contact with reality, patients may react to others in paranoid ways or experience delusions. Delusions are a form of psychosis in which individuals strongly believe in ideas that aren't real. It's also common for borderline personality disorder patients to dissociate. Dissociation is a feeling of separation from the self. It can make individuals feel like they exist 'outside' their body, like they can't touch their emotions, like they're not in contact with the world, or like they don't even exist. Dissociation can be distressing, but it can also come with a sense of detachment and apathy that may alarm others.
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Repeated Job Changes
One common complication of untreated borderline personality disorder is repeated job changes. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, the emotional volatility of the disorder can cause relationships with coworkers to become fraught. It may be difficult to keep up a job that requires individuals to work regularly with others. However, borderline personality disorder patients may change jobs frequently even if they're self-employed or don't have to interact much with others. This condition often includes rapid changes in self-image and self-identity. An individual's values and goals may change. Rather than having one career path or interest they wish to pursue, an individual with borderline personality disorder might start new jobs as soon as something new catches their interest. On top of this, the impulsive behavior associated with borderline personality disorder makes patients more likely to quit their jobs on a whim than neurotypical individuals.