Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition that affects a person's ability to regulate emotions, which can lead to relationship problems and impulsivity. BPD is diagnosed according to the criteria described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). For a diagnosis of BPD, five of the nine criteria must be met .
Only a trained and qualified mental health professional can diagnose borderline personality disorder, but there are certain questions you can ask yourself if you think you or a loved one may have the disorder.
Home test for borderline personality disorder
How to take the test
If you answered yes to these questions, speak with a mental health professional. This test should not be used as a self-diagnostic tool.
1. Are you constantly afraid of being abandoned?
A person with BPD can make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined rejection. They can start a relationship quickly, as well as end it quickly for fear of abandonment .
2. Have you had a chaotic and unstable relationship in the past?
A person with BPD often exhibits a pattern of intense and unstable relationships. They can alternate:
- Idealization: creating extreme love, intimacy, and adoration.
- Devaluation: leads to extreme anger or hatred.
A defense mechanism commonly used in people with BPD involves division, which means that they see things in black or white and cannot have opposite thoughts at the same time. All of these can manifest in behaviors such as ambivalence, avoidance, and anxious attachment in romantic relationships.
3. Do you have the overwhelming feeling that you don't know who you are or what you believe in?
An unstable self-image or sense of self is common and can affect a person's mood and attitudes. Altered identity in BPD can cause a person to have conflicting beliefs, behaviors, or values.
The diffusion of identity manifests itself in problems understanding who you are in relation to other people. This can lead to boundary problems in relationships .
4. Are you being driven by impulses that you know can harm you?
Impulsiveness or a tendency to do things without thinking in the first place can lead to reckless behavior. For BPD, there must be impulsivity in at least two areas that are considered self-destructive. Here are some examples of impulsivity :
- Irresponsible driving
- Having fun
- Unprotected sex
Could it be bipolar disorder?
The symptoms of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder may overlap. If you recognize the symptoms described here, speak with a mental health professional who can help you identify a possible diagnosis.
5. Have you been suicidal or have you intentionally hurt yourself?
BPD can cause repeated suicidal actions, gestures, or threats. It can also result in self-harm or non-suicidal self-harm, which can include:
- To bite
- Banging the head
When to seek emergency help
6. Do you have high reactivity and rapid and sudden mood swings?
BPD can cause periods of mood swings and emotional instability. Mood can change quickly, frequently, and dramatically. This is called affective instability and makes the person hesitate between:
- Dysphoria (dissatisfaction and anxiety)
7. Do you have a feeling of emptiness that you can't get rid of?
BPD can cause a chronic sense of emptiness inside. This is different from a distorted and unstable self-image. It is also detached from feelings of hopelessness and loneliness.
Some describe this as a lack of well-being, while others believe that it is an inability to internalize positive thoughts and experiences .
8. Are you prone to anger or unable to contain yourself?
Anger management problems and intense anger can arise. Anger is often fueled by:
- Sudden reactivity
- Rapid changes in emotions (emotional lability)
- Unhealthy chewing
Deciphering aggressive behavior
Although people with BPD are often portrayed as aggressive, they tend to channel negative emotions inward. In contrast, antisocial personality disorder is characterized by an externalization of emotions and a greater propensity for physical outbursts.
9. Do you become paranoid or disconnect when stressed?
Paranoid thinking can occur, especially during times of stress, and make a person fear others. Serious dissociative symptoms can also occur. Dissociation means feeling disconnected from your body, thoughts, feelings, and environment. It can also cause a dulling of emotions.
In a clinical setting, five out of nine criteria are required for formal diagnosis. In a self-reported situation, the results should be approached with caution and not considered diagnostic.
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you should consider speaking with a qualified mental health professional, especially if any of these experiences are causing you long-term distress or impairing your quality of life.
There are treatment options for people with BPD that can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Additionally, research suggests that the overall remission rate among people treated for BPD may be high, and symptoms may improve over time.