Many young adults change goals and desires constantly, and even have a difference sense of self at times. However, when you combine constant changes in goals, identity, career plans, jobs, values, morals, friendships and relationships with extreme emotional changes that can lead to unusual amounts of anger, depression and anxiety, you might be experiencing borderline personality disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health’s website.
Other symptoms of borderline personality disorder include aggression, self-injury, alcohol and drug abuse, an inaccurate sense of self and thinking, and low self-esteem and self-worth, according to the website. People with borderline personality disorder might not know who they really are and feel bored, empty and misunderstood.
These symptoms and constant changes in behavior and personality can affect social relationships as well, leading to instability in this area of life as well. With friends, lovers and family members, people with borderline personality disorder can love them one moment and hate them the next, even over a small issue.
People with this mental disorder are afraid of being left alone and might threaten suicide. They also might engage in risky behaviors like sex with multiple partners and without protection, as well as impulsive shopping and excessive eating. Some disorders that can occur with borderline personality disorder are depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety.
A 2009 article in TIME Magazine stated that about 5.9 percent of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, and it appears on the rise and is equal in both men and women (despite the assumption that women are affected more often). The article added that young adults in their 20s are more likely to suffer from the personality disorder.
You can be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder after a thorough psychological evaluation and a visit to the doctor to eliminate any medical causes, according to an article on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website.
Treatment options for borderline personality disorder include individual talk therapy and specifically dialectical behavioral therapy. Medication can also be used to treat symptoms and other disorders that co-occur.
Although the cause of this personality disorder is unknown, genetics, the social environment and family are thought to play a part, according to the website. Risk factors for the disorder are being abandoned as a child or teenager, having a dysfunctional family life (which includes poor communication) and being sexually abused.
National Institute of Mental Health. NIMH – Borderline Personality Disorder. NIMH. Web. September 7, 2011. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/borderline-personality-disorder-fact-sheet/index.shtml
Cloud, John. Borderline Personality Disorder: Mental Illness on Rise? – TIME. The Mystery of Borderline Personality Disorder. Web. September 7, 2011. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1870491,00.html
National Center for Biotechnology Information. Borderline personality disorder – PubMed Health. Borderline personality disorder. Web. September 7, 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001931/
Reviewed September 8, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith