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Borderline personality disorder

You may experience strong emotions, mood swings and feelings you find difficult to cope with

Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) or emotional intensity disorder (EID), is the most common personality disorder. You may experience strong emotions, mood swings and feelings you find difficult to cope with. It can make you distressed and anxious, that can lead to problems with identity and how you view yourself while potentially affecting relationships with others.

If you live with BPD you may find your way of coping with emotions is different from others around you, and that these emotions are hard to control. For example, you may find your emotions confusing, tiring, and isolating. This can lead on to other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.


There is no singular reason someone may develop BPD, however it is thought BPD may be caused by a combination of the following:

  • Experiencing abuse or neglect at a young age
  • Growing up in a household where someone had mental health problems such as bipolar disorder or drug use
  • A family member also living with BPD, although there is no evidence of any particular gene being responsible for BPD
  • Experiencing trauma in early life such as the death of a close relative


Everyone will experience BPD differently, but the following symptoms are the most common:

  • Being impulsive and not thinking actions through
  • Feeling unable to control your emotions
  • Intense but unstable relationships with others
  • Feeling disconnected from the world around you, also known as dissociation
  • Not having a sense of who you are
  • Feeling very worried about people abandoning you

With BPD, you might experience money worries that impact your mental health. Money management might become a problem as people with BPD could experience impulsive spending, self-medicating through alcohol and drug abuse, debt, or avoiding tackling mounting bills or checking bank accounts.

Experiencing these symptoms can make day to day life very difficult and feel like you are out of control. It is so important to remember that you are not alone and there is help out there. Alongside contacting your GP, you can also take these steps to manage your symptoms:

  • Form a routine: A consistent and healthy routine will help structure your day and give you a sense of purpose. For example, you could make sure you always wake up at the same and eat your meals at the same time.
  • Breathing exercises: When feeling out of control or unable to control your emotions, it is so important to focus on your breathing and slow it down. Breathing exercises will allow you to concentrate on your breathing and establish control of your body and emotions. You could also try including these exercises in your daily routine.
  • Join a support group: These types of groups would allow you to meet like minded people and provide a space to share your emotions and receive support.
  • Take a moment: If something annoys or upsets you, try to wait a while before you respond, and think carefully about what you’re going to say. Similarly, look for patterns in the way you respond to upsetting circumstances.
  • Reach out to a loved one: Talking to someone you trust about how you feel is invaluable. Confide in them about your experiences and feelings, and remember they love you and want to help you flourish.
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