What are the symptoms of BPD?

What are the symptoms of BPD?

You might be given a diagnosis of BPD if you experience at least five of the following things, and they’ve lasted for a long time or have a big impact on your daily life:

  • You feel very worried about people abandoning you, and would do anything to stop that happening.
  • You have very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon).
  • You don’t have a strong sense of who you are, and it can change depending on who you’re with.
  • You find it very hard to make and keep stable relationships.
  • You act impulsively and do things that could harm you (such as binge eating, using drugs or driving dangerously).
  • You have suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviour.
  • You feel empty and lonely a lot of the time.
  • You get very angry, and struggle to control your anger.
  • When very stressed, sometimes you might:
    • feel paranoid
    • have psychotic experiences, such as seeing or hearing things other people don’t
    • feel numb or ‘checked out’ and not remember things properly after they’ve happened.

Because you only need to experience five of these possible symptoms to be given the diagnosis, BPD can be a very broad diagnosis and include lots of different people with very different experiences.

Does BPD mean I have a bad personality?

If you’re given a diagnosis of BPD, it’s understandable to feel like you’re being told that who you are is ‘wrong’. But BPD does not mean that you’re a bad person, or that you have a bad personality.

We all have both positive and negative personality traits, and we all have feelings and behaviours that can be useful at times and a problem at others. But if you experience BPD, some of your feelings or behaviours might be so difficult for you to manage that they’re stopping you from living your life as you’d like to. Treatment for BPD can help you work out which thought and behaviour patterns are useful to you, and which aren’t.

Who can diagnose me with BPD?

You can only be diagnosed with BPD by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist – not by your GP. If you speak to your GP about your mental health and they think you might have BPD, they can refer you to your local community mental health team (CMHT), who will be able to assess you. (See our pages on who’s who in mental health to find out more about different mental health professionals).

Taken from the Mind website



  1. I am getting confused I have been given a bipolar diagnosis for past 8 years now but these symptoms seems to fit in like a glove.I was once told I have BPD and sent to therapy and taken off medications. My condition worsened drastically so I was bag on medication and after PP was given the diagnosis of bipolar. I have come a long way with that and worked on it but if I have BPD as well I should be aware of it.It’s basically I will have to do some serious reconditioning of my thought process which is possible as I have spent hours of my life in psychiatrist office. But if I have this underlying BPD for years I need to deal with it,but I am not sure if I am just going on a whim here.So anyone out here would like to help me out a bit.


    • Hi Jav (whats PP?) Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog and comment. I am in no way shape or form a Doctor, Psychiatrist or Psychologist, so i can only give you advice based on my opinion and experience. When i first went to the doctor about low mood and self harming in about 2008, i was sent to a Psychiatrist and given the diagnoses of Bi Polar. After about 6 months of sessions with the Psychiatrist, i began to look into Bi Polar and its symptoms. I found that i did sometimes get Bi polar symptoms, but there was alot else going on which Bi Polar could not explain. So i did some digging on the internet about different types of mental illness and found i completely clicked when reading about BPD. So i told my psychiatrist about my findings, and he agreed. Hence the label of BPD was put on me! Don’t be scared to talk to your Psychiatrist about your diagnoses and if there are some elements of your illness you feel you cant attribute to BP but you could to BPD, let him know also. That’s my advice 🙂


      • From PP I meant postpartum depression. I have been in counselling since 1998 and initially it worked.When I was 25 I started displaying symptoms of psychosis and at 17 I was given the diagnosis of bipolar.Prior to that I think I was being treated for BPD they only never use to emphasis it as I found it scary form what I have read about it.
        I also went to my psychiatrist with this one book of clinical psychology ten years ago.I had multiples disorders and I checked in the boxes for all the symptoms I felt I had. That day he said I have BPD so I was taken off meds and sent into counselling. My psychiatrist says I have two or three simultaneous issues I guess he refers to BPD when he says that but I just chose to ignore him.It has taken me years to accept bipolar ,BPD is an even tougher diagnosis. I can’t stand years and years of counselling, going once every two months for twenty thirty minutes getting meds somehow seems easier. Yes I should talk to him but I don’t know . My mood changes daily so by the time I would go to him I might think it’s not important. I just am so exhausted after so many years of treatment and never having one complete year of relief. But plz I have no intention of worrying you I know in our heads we are all struggling.


  2. Thank you so much in any case.I am passing through a bit of manic phase so I am not very much making sense even to me.If from my post it looks like I have anything against BPD it’s not I just find it challenging as with bipolar.Much love .


  3. You are right BPD IS scary, It is estimated that 60-70% of people with BPD will attempt suicide at some point in their life. Whilst medication can be prescribed, sometimes it does not work. It is hard accepting you have any mental illness, but acceptance is the key to recovery.

    Most people who do have BPD recover through therapy, and I really think in your case you ought to give it another go. I’m not sure where you live but the favourite therapy for BPD sufferers in the UK is DBT, it may not be easy to get onto a course, but it is worth a look.

    My DBT consists of group therapy once a week and a single session with a psychologist once a week also. So i have 2 sessions a week, and this lasts for 6 months, you can either end there, or repeat all the modules again (which i am doing), this lasts another 6 months. Its a long time yes, but for me there was no debate. I couldn’t work because of my condition, but i have the capacity too, so once i finish therapy i can rebuild my life.

    For your mood changes i suggest you keep a diary of your moods, which will make it easier to spot any patterns, as i know for me, my moods certainly felt erratic until i started keeping a diary. This will also aid you in what’s called a chain analysis, which helps you to find your personal trigger points.

    I know its disheartening to hear this, as you have tried so hard for so long, like i had. It took me years to get the right treatment, i had to go through 6 months alcohol addiction recovery just to be put on the list.

    My only piece of advice to you is never, ever give up. Be your own champion when no one else will. Fight your corner, know your conditions and yourself inside out.

    TC X


    • Thankyou so much that was indeed motivating and inspiring.I guess you are pretty younger than me but you sound so much mature so kudos.I don’t shy away from the fact that I have bipolar or had pstpartum or might very likely have BPD it’s just BPD goes on a back burner mostly as my bipolar phases sometimes lasts for a long time. I have two kids and every time after giving birth I ended up having major depressive episode.Even at the start of last year they had to do ETC as my medications were not having any effects. Compared to ETC everything else is such an easier thing.I don’t regret having it as it worked.My first post partum dragged for three years and this ended in almost two months. But yes now that I am out of the major episodes for the time being I should give counselling a try. I personally find CBT more suitable as I have had few sessions of it and found it relaxing.Writing is my weak point.When I write something I become fixated on it and start imposing it on myself.So long ago I stopped trying that. Right now I have these minor concentration issues and slight mood swings as my medications are being tapered off from quiet high doses.I have just noticed if my sleep patterns are normal I hardly get issues but when suddenly I can’t sleep and my mind can’t stop working it keeps on getting worst. So what I really try is to somehow manage to get 5 or 6 hours of sleep eveyday.Luckily mu husband is very co-oprative and understands this. He keeps the kid at night and the older one is 9 so he manges on his own. I discussed with my mom yesterday about going to therapy and she had a very positive reaction.She said if I still think I have some unresolved issues I should go in.It’s an extra blessing she is a doctor so she herself understands a lot of things.She has managed me hooked on drugs and helped me get off them on her own so she has a very positive influence in my life at this stage.These days she is after me to quit smoking but I guess it will come with time.Anyhow just coming here has been a wonderful experience so therapy can’t be that horrible.I have probably decided to remember only selected bad parts. Thanks for this blog unknowingly you made something very complicated a lot simpler.


  4. So glad i could help. I’m 28 and was diagnosed when i was 20. I can imagine having Bi Polar and BPD and PP is very hard and confusing, especially when picking out symptoms and patterns. I guess i’m ‘lucky’ to only have the one diagnosis.

    Despite the bad wrap ETC has, ive actually heard it’s very safe and very effective for some people. Especially in regards to severe depression.

    I had CBT and whilst i found some bits helpful, the majority of it i found to simple for some of the more complex emotions, thoughts and behaviours i was displaying.

    In regards to diary entries, it doesn’t have to be an worded entry, you could make a simple grid and rate your moods, for example, my problem behaviours at the top of my grids are suicidal, self harm, judgemental and avoidance, so i rate myself 0-5 on how highly i have scored each day. Its simple but effective and helps you to keep track of what you felt any particular day.

    (heres an example one i found – https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/129689664246075936/)

    I recently had my dosage of an anti psychotic tapered off wrong (see my blog entry on withdrawal) by my psychiatrist, and went through months of hell, ending up with me in hospital. So i know what its like to feel like you do at the moment.

    Try to get yourself through this bad patch, as therapy will be no good if your mind is to all over the place to take in anything. 5-6 hours of sleep is good, they say 8 is healthy, but again if your med’s are being changed its going to be influencing all sorts of things in your body. so give it time to adjust.

    I find DBT’s sleep hygiene tips very good, here is a website with some of the same on if you want to look.


    It sounds like you have a great support network,who know you well and have been through alot with you, which is brilliant.

    In regards to the smoking, yes, its not good for you, but it can wait. Don’t take too much on at once, it will topple you over, and that’s not good. The stress that stopping smoking can trigger will just muddy the waters whilst you are trying to get better mentally.

    Very pleased i could help you, you’re not alone.



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