Emotionally unstable personality disorder, otherwise known as a borderline personality disorder, is a mental health disorder that causes a wide range of symptoms and abnormal behavior patterns. The causes of borderline personality disorder are thought to relate to a combination of genetic predisposition and negative childhood experiences such as physical and/or sexual abuse. Emotionally unstable personality disorder symptoms usually begin to manifest themselves in adolescence before continuing into adulthood and the disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders, particularly amongst women.
What are the most common emotionally unstable personality disorder symptoms?
Borderline personality disorder affects a person’s mood and how they interact with others. Emotionally unstable personality disorder symptoms vary considerably between different patients, but the symptoms roughly fall into four distinct areas:
- Disturbed patterns of thought
- Emotional instability
- Impulsive behavior
- Intense and unstable interpersonal relationships
There are different levels of disturbed thought patterns seen in patients suffering from borderline personality disorder. In mild cases, patients often believe that they are a bad person, or they might feel invisible or “disconnected” to the outside world. Other patients experience short episodes of abnormal thoughts such as hearing voices in their head. In the most severe of cases, patients will experience prolonged hallucinations, paranoia, voices in their head and other psychotic episodes.
Emotional instability in patients with a borderline personality disorder will manifest itself as bouts of intense negative emotions such as terror, fear, sorrow, rage, emptiness and loneliness. People with borderline personality disorder often suffer from extreme and unpredictable mood swings that occur for no apparent reason.
It is very common for patients with a borderline personality disorder to self harm or engage in potentially harmful activities. Self harming can sometimes lead to suicidal attempts in the most severe of cases. There is also a tendency for patients with borderline personality disorders to indulge in impulsive behavior such as binge drinking, gambling, and drug abuse.
Unstable relationships are a common feature in those who have an emotionally unstable personality disorder. Patients either fear abandonment, which causes intense anxiety or anger, or they feel smothered by interpersonal relationships and behave in such a fashion as to reject people. Emotional relationships formed by people with borderline personality disorders can often be defined as love/hate relationships and can be extremely unstable as a result.
Symptoms of people with emotionally unstable personality disorders often show similar patterns to those suffering from psychological trauma or acute mental illness and in order to differentiate between them, it is important that symptoms are assessed over a reasonable period of time.
Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental health illness. At least 60% of patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder will self harm and show suicidal tendencies, and of those, 10% will be successful.
With the correct diagnosis and treatment, around half of all those diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder will recover completely and most of those people will show no more symptoms for at least four years, although a continual assessment and treatment is recommended to prevent a recurrence of symptoms.