Borderline Personality Disorder Signs, Symptoms & Effects

Understanding the signs, symptoms, and possible effects of co-occurring borderline personality disorder can be an important first step on the path toward improved health. Sierra by the Sea in Newport Beach, California, is proud to be a source of accurate and relevant information about the impact of co-occurring borderline personality disorder.

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Learn about co-occurring borderline personality disorder

Some people who struggle with addiction may also suffer from the symptoms of a co-occurring mental health condition. Borderline personality disorder is one of the many mental health concerns that can coexist with a substance use disorder.

When an individual is living with borderline personality disorder, they have difficulty regulating their emotions and typically feel happiness, anger, and sadness much more intensely than people who do not have this condition.

People who have borderline personality disorder often struggle to maintain healthy relationships because of their difficulties with self-regulation, demonstrating a pattern of unstable friendships and connections with their loved ones. One moment they may idealize a person, and the next they may devalue that same person, believing that they “don’t care enough” or “don’t do enough” for them anymore.

But difficulties with self-regulation aren’t limited to emotions. People who are struggling with borderline personality disorder may engage in impulsive behaviors that can be harmful to themselves or others, such as going on shopping sprees, having frequent unprotected sex, misusing drugs or alcohol, or driving recklessly.

Borderline personality disorder typically causes people to feel a powerful fear of abandonment, making them highly sensitive to any situation — whether real or imagined — that may indicate that someone in their life might leave them. For example, they may react with panic or fury when a friend is late to coffee or a family member needs to reschedule lunch.

Many people who struggle with this condition suffer from constant feelings of emptiness and periods during which they feel intense anger and despair. Without professional care, some people who have borderline personality disorder develop a negative perception of themselves and may try to cope with the overwhelming emotions they are feeling through self-harm.


Statistics about borderline personality disorder

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported the following statistics about borderline personality disorder among adults age 18 and older in the United States:

Causes & Risk Factors for Borderline Personality Disorder

Potential causes of borderline personality disorder

No single factor can cause an individual to develop borderline personality disorder. In most cases, many influences in a person’s life can increase their likelihood of experiencing this condition. These are the most common risk factors for borderline personality disorder:

  • Having a close relative who has borderline personality disorder
  • History of physical or sexual abuse
  • Childhood neglect
  • Unstable family relationships

Signs & Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Symptoms of borderline personality disorder

Not everyone experiences borderline personality disorder the same way, but the following are some of the signs and symptoms that someone may be struggling with this mental health condition:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Gets into relationships quickly or suddenly cuts off relationships to avoid abandonment
  • Engages in impulsive or dangerous behaviors
  • Has explosive, angry outbursts

Physical symptoms:

  • Fresh wounds, scars, or bruises from self-harming behaviors
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Changes in appetite

Mental symptoms:

  • Emotions often swing from extreme love to extreme dislike with loved ones
  • Intense episodes of depression, irritability, or anxiety
  • Constant feelings of emptiness and boredom
  • Uncertain or distorted sense of self

Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder

The negative impact of borderline personality disorder

Without proper, effective care, borderline personality disorder can be a debilitating mental health condition that can seriously affect an individual’s ability to function in their day-to-day life. These are just some of the negative effects that can occur if an individual does not seek help for borderline personality disorder:

  • Stormy, conflict-filled relationships
  • Unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections
  • Physical fights, injuries, or car collisions
  • Job loss or financial troubles
  • Self-harm or serious injury from harming themselves
  • Suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, or death by suicide

It is never too late to seek help for borderline personality disorder. By getting professional care, you or someone you love can start to heal from any damage you may have incurred as a result of the behaviors associated with this condition. You can also minimize your risk for experiencing any long-term negative effects of borderline personality disorder.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who develop borderline personality disorder

People who are struggling with borderline personality disorder may also suffer from certain co-occurring conditions, including:

  • Depression
  • Panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance use disorders

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– - Anonymous