My relationships are intense and unstable, and they fluctuate between extremes of undervaluing and idealizing people who matter to me. I have heavy mood swings and emotional ups and downs. Often, I experience intense incidences of irritability, sadness, panic attacks, or anxiety.
Do I have a borderline personality disorder? It’s a typical example of queries that mentally disorderly people ask their psychiatrist or counselor.
The diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), recommended by the American Psychiatric Association, is the best criteria to test whether you suffer from BPD.
If you doubt that you have a borderline personality disorder, you should consult a psychiatrist or mental health expert for BPD tests.
What is a Personality Disorder?
A personality disorder is a psychological pattern of behavior. It has emerged from the normal feelings and thoughts that begin to develop at a young age.
It changes your understanding of yourself and your reactions to the world. You find it difficult to cope with your emotions and your chaotic relationships with others.
Certain genetic and environmental factors are the cause of this condition.
There is nothing wrong with your personality. However, your behavior, feelings, and thoughts often do not agree with the people with whom you live. The patterns of your behavior and emotional expressions deviate from the norms of generally accepted behavior.
Typically, visible symptoms of personality disorder become apparent around the time of adolescence. Borderline personality disorder causes long-term difficulties in relationships and functioning in the workplace, family, and society.
BPD historically has been difficult to treat. But with newer, evidence-based treatment, most patients are able to overcome this mental disorder.
Do I have Borderline Personality Disorder?
Unlike bipolar disorder, BPD is a personality disorder.
BPD manifests in people differently, as many symptoms are associated with it. For these reasons, the world’s well-known health professionals have classified the symptoms into nine categories.
You must have at least five symptoms out of the nine categories to have BPD. Importantly, the symptoms must be long-standing and affect many areas of your life.
There is no definitive medical test to diagnose BPD or your mental health condition.
You could doubt yourself of having the symptoms of BPD. Only a qualified mental health professional can correctly diagnose a mental disorder.
Signs and Symptoms of BPD
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has classified a set of 9 common criteria for borderline personality disorder tests. All symptoms may not be explicitly present in a patient.
To be diagnosed with BPD, you should have the long-term presence of any of the five following symptoms.
1. Fear of abandonment
BPD patients fear losing the love and presence of family members, colleagues, friends, or lovers. They make serious attempts to prevent others from leaving them to the extent of pleading, fighting, or physically blocking.
They make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by loved ones ·
2. Unstable or unclear self-image
A BPD patient has an unstable sense of self. Her assessment of herself tilts between good and bad. She is confused about her goals in life to the extent of being confused about the meaning of life itself. For this reason, she may regularly change her beliefs, friends, lovers, values, jobs, or even her sexual identity.
3. Self-harm and suicidal tendencies
An individual with BPD tends to self-harm and exhibits suicidal behavior. The patient is unable to handle stress and irritation. Thus it is common for her to show suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm.
Self-harm comes from burning, cutting, or hitting body parts. Common signs of suicidal behavior are suicidal threats and gestures, thinking about suicide, or making an actual attempt to commit suicide.
If you have suicidal thoughts, get help right away.
4. A recurring feeling of emptiness and loneliness
Most BPD patients mentally suffer a constant sense of emptiness. A feeling of void preoccupies the mind and considers them “nothing” or “nobody.”
They feel their loved ones are abandoning them. This feeling leads them to feel lonely and forsaken.
They try to escape from emptiness and loneliness by taking solace in drugs, alcohol, food, or sex, giving them temporary mental relief.
5. Unstable relationships
Relationships between BPD persons with others are intense and short-lived. They quickly fall in love or make friends but soon become disappointed with their partner. Instability, mood swings, and emotional outbursts make relationships bitter for both parties.
6. Impulsive behaviors
The impulsive behavior trends prompt BPD patients to engage in reckless spending, binge eating, risky sex, or overdoing drugs and alcohol. They may put up sensation-seeking harmful activities, especially when they are upset. They feel satisfied with risky behavior, which causes great mental or physical distress to those around them.
Their impulsivity is seen in rapid and unplanned action.
7. Over-suspicious and out of touch with reality
Usually, people with BPD are oversuspicious about the motives of others. They do not fully trust their partners, friends, and family members.
BPD patients often remain disconnected from reality, especially under stress and anxiety. They may feel spaced out, foggy, or they are physically nonexistent. They tend to view things in extremes, like all good or all bad.
8. Intense anger and violent behavior
One of the prime characteristics of borderline disorder is intense anger. They are short-tempered and resort to violence at the height of fury. It is rather difficult for them to control their rage, and they keep yelling and throwing or breaking things. There may even be a physical fight between them.
9. Intense and quick mood swings
People with BPD suffer from quick and extreme swings in moods and emotions. At one moment, they are happy, and the next minute, despondent. It is difficult for others to adjust to the sudden changes in mood displayed by individuals with BPD.
Borderline Personality Disorder Questionnaire
A BPD questionnaire/quiz is a primary screening method for self-assessing your BPD symptoms. Here is a sample BPD quiz to check whether you have BPD traits.
- Your level of anger is often intense, inappropriate, and challenging to control. (True/False)
- Your relationships with friends and family are intense but unstable and alternate between idealizing and undervaluing. (True/False)
- When upset or stressed, you issue suicidal threats or think of suicide. You also engage in self-harmful behaviors such as burning, hitting, or injuring yourself. (True/False)
- You experience a sudden change in emotions to episodes of intense anxiety, panic attacks, sadness, or irritability. (True/False)
- You suffer from chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom. (True/False)
- You engage in impulsive behavior like reckless spending, heavy substance abuse, binge eating, unsafe sexual relationships, severe alcoholism, or reckless driving. (True/False)
- You visualize an unstable sense of yourself and are confused about who you are or what you truly believe in. (True/False)
- You are suspicious and paranoid with friends and dear ones. You think that they are trying to harm you. Feel other people or situations are somewhat unreal. (True/False)
- You fear abandonment by loved ones and friends and try to retain people close to you. (True/False)
Behavioral Traits Indicating BPD
You could be a BPD patient if you identify with at least four of the following statements:
- I’m worried that my dear ones and friends will leave me.
- I feel “empty” quite often.
- I have intense romantic relationships, but breakups happen too soon.
- I experience fast mood swings and emotions; I often experience severe anxiety, sadness, and anger.
- When I am upset or stressed, I hurt myself, issue suicide threats, or attempt to commit suicide.
- I don’t understand why my feelings for others and my attitudes toward life change from one moment to another.
- I lash out or make impulsive gestures to prevent my lover from abandoning me.
- I often do dangerous and reckless actions like heavy use of drugs, unsafe sex, binge eating, or crazy adventures.