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Borderline Personality Disorder – What caregivers need to know

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that distortions the way the patient think and feel about him/herself and others, and characterized by self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships, thus, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It usually begins by early adulthood. The condition seems to be worse in young adulthood and may gradually get better with age.

General psychiatric management (GPM) is an evidence-based intervention for BPD that can be flexibly implemented in nonspecialized, resource-constrained environments.


The 9 symptoms of BPD

1. Intense Fear of abandonment. Going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection

2. Unstable relationships. Falling in love quickly, with rapid swings from idealization to devaluation, anger, and hate.

3. Unclear or rapid changes in self-image and self-identity. that include shifting goals and values, patients could see themselves as evil. As a result they frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, or even sexual identity.

4. Periods of stress-related paranoia or loss of contact with reality

5. Impulsive, risky, or self-destructive behaviors. Impulsively engaging in unsafe sex, gambling, reckless driving , spending sprees, binge eating, shoplifting, or drug abuse.

6. Self-harm behavior including cutting or burning or suicidal threats, often in response to fear of separation or rejection.

7. Extreme mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety

8. Ongoing feelings of emptiness. BPD patients often talk about feeling empty, they may try to fill the void with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.

9. Explosions of anger. Inappropriate, intense anger, that leads to yelling, losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights.


The six fundamental principles of General psychiatric management are:

· Diagnostic disclosure

· Psychoeducation

· Getting a life

· Suicidality and self-harm management

· Conservative psychopharmacology

· Coordination of care

For more information on Borderline Personality Disorder:

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