Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness characterized by a distorted self-image, impulsiveness, unstable and intense relationships, and extreme emotions. People with BPD find it challenging to regulate their emotions, which can result in self-harm behaviors. An estimated 1.6% of the American population has BPD. Typically, signs of borderline personality disorder have developed by early adulthood, which is when most people experience the worst effects -- the condition may improve over time.
BPD impacts behavior and how one thinks and feels about his or herself and others. People with BPD generally have a fear of abandonment and will go to extreme measures to prevent real or imagined abandonment. This can lead to unstable and intense relationships, idealizing someone one minute and thinking he or she does not care the next. In addition, people with BPD may experience inappropriate, intense anger and mood swings that can last from a few hours to a few days. Feelings of emptiness is another characteristic of BPD. Individuals may lose contact with reality, engage in self-harming behaviors, threaten or attempt to take their own life, and engage in risky behaviors. General uncertainty and indecision can result in frequent changes to jobs, friends, goals, and values.
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