Borderline personality disorder is a type of depression characterized by extreme mood swings (feeling happy one day and in the depths of despair the next), poor self-image, difficulties with making new relationships, turbulence in existing relationships, self-harm, fear of being alone, addictions and believing in things or seeing things that aren’t real (delusions and hallucinations).
To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, you must have at least five symptoms of the disorder. Some of the symptoms could be caused by other things, for instance, a marriage breakup or death, resulting in reactive depression.
This is why doctors suggest a minimum of five symptoms, so that they don’t diagnose someone with a personality disorder when they are merely having a normal emotional response to trauma.
The diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is controversial as some professionals believe it puts a negative stigma on the patient and results in discrimination against disabled people.
Borderline Personality Today wrote:
"What’s in a name? In the disability community this question is a hot topic. In fact, the use of negative language has proven time after time to be a major influence on individual and public attitudes towards people with disabilities and as Dahl asserts often constitutes 'a major barrier for people with disabilities'. However, despite progress being made to use less stigmatizing disability terms, psychiatry has not kept up with these changes.’
Alternative names for the condition that have been suggested include emotional intensity disorder, emotional deregulation disorder and emotional regulation disorder.
People who are more at risk of getting the condition are:
• People who have family members with borderline personality disorder
• Survivors of childhood abuse
• Survivors of childhood neglect or abandonment.
Borderline personality disorder can be temporary and is not necessarily an inherent trait of someone’s personality, as its name suggests. Patients can respond to treatment and get better.
The main treatment is psychotherapy.