This guide was written to help you learn about borderline personality disorder. It will discuss current treatment options. If you have questions about the details in this guide, talk with your providers.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Can be a severe health concern. People with this disorder often have problems with mood, self-image, and relationships. Common signs and symptoms are:

  • Unstable, intense relationships.

  • Fear of abandonment, separation or loss.

  • A dislike of being alone; needing to have other people around.

  • Problems with self-image.

  • Acting on impulse (spending money, unsafe sex, reckless driving).

  • Self-harm such as cutting, suicide attempts.

  • Rapid mood changes.

  • Feelings of emptiness

  • Feeling wary or being out-of-touch with reality when stressed.

  • Feelings of anger for no known reason.


The cause is unknown. Many theories attempt to explain this illness. These theories focus on:

  • Parent-child relationship

  • Childhood abuse

  • Biological factors

  • Parent’s mental disorder


The choice of treatment depends on many factors. These factors include:

  • Your history.

  • Your current needs and interests.

  • The treatment options where you live.

Treatment Options

  • Dialectical behavioral group therapy (DBT).

  • One on one counseling.

  • Group, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) rehab programs.

  • Keeping crisis plans up to date.

  • Medicines.

It may be helpful for all members of the health care team to have a copy of the crisis plan.

Who to Call

If you have questions, please call the Psychiatry Inpatient Unit at (608) 263-7525.

Help is available at the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, dial or text 988.