What Are The 4 Types of Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior.
BPD’s symptoms often result in an inability to maintain healthy relationships, intense mood swings, and impulsivity leading to risky behavior.
BPD is commonly misdiagnosed or missed altogether as some of the symptoms can mirror other disorders, and BPD often coexists with another disorder.
Symptoms of BPD
In order to be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, at least five of the following nine BPD symptoms must be present and also form a chronic and repetitive pattern:
- Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one arriving home late from work or going away for the weekend may trigger intense fear. This can prompt frantic efforts to keep the other person close. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
- Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. They may fall in love quickly, believing that each new person is the one who will make them feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Relationships either seem perfect or horrible, without any middle ground.
- Unclear or shifting self-image. BPD sufferer’s sense of self is typically unstable. They usually struggle to develop a clear idea of who they are or what they want in life. As a result, they may frequently change jobs, friends, religion, values, goals, or even sexual identity.
- Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. People with BPD may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when they are upset. They may impulsively spend money, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overindulge with drugs or alcohol.
- Self-harm. Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
- Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD—happy one moment and despondent the next. Little things that other people brush off can send a BPD sufferer into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly, usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. Sufferers may try to fill the void with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
- Explosive anger. People with BPD may struggle with intense anger and a short temper.
- Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ intentions. When under stress, they may even lose touch with reality (an experience known as dissociation), feeling cut off from their own body, thoughts and feelings
Types of Borderline Personality Disorder
There are four distinct subtypes of borderline personality disorder.
- Impulsive borderline
- Petulant borderline
- Discouraged borderline
- Self-destructive borderline
It is important to note that someone suffering from BPD may or may not fall into one of these subtypes, and some may even fall into more than one category.
Over time, symptoms can change and manifest differently as well.
The impulsive borderline will be prone to erratic actions as the name implies and likely be energetic and charismatic at times, and cold and hostile at other times. While a lack of impulse control is a major symptom of all types of BPD, in the case of Impulsive Borderline this can be even further exaggerated.
They can be superficial, flirtatious and elusive, and quickly become bored. Impulsive borderlines thrive on attention and excitement and often get themselves into trouble for acting first and thinking later.
This can lead to substance abuse and self-injurious behavior as they seek approval from those around them and seek to avoid disappointment and abandonment.
Sometimes referred to as the angry subtype; unpredictability, irritability, defiance and impatience signify the petulant borderline. They can be fearful, anxious, possessive, controlling, and jealous.
Petulant borderlines teeter between extreme feelings of being unworthy and anger. They tend to be passive-aggressive in relationships and can display self-harming behavior to get attention.
The discouraged borderline exhibits clingy and codependent behavior, tending to follow along in a group setting although seeming dejected.
Discouraged borderlines are more likely to engage in self-mutilation and even suicide.
They seek approval but also tend to avoid people, feel unworthy, and can trend toward depression.
The self-destructive borderline engages in self-destructive behavior. At times they may or may not even be aware of its destructive nature.
They are bitter and self-loathing. They have no sense of self and are terrified of being abandoned. They may hurt themselves in an effort to feel something.
A self-destructive borderline is most likely to engage in risky behavior like reckless driving and degrading sexual activity.
Borderline personality disorder is a complex mental disorder with many layers and facets to it. No two cases are exactly the same. BPD also often overlaps with other disorders like substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression to name just a few.
This can make diagnosis difficult and properly treat.
The good news is that treatment options are available, and research indicates that results are positive. With the right tools, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms successfully.
Many forms of therapy have been helpful in treating BPD. And we can help.
If you are dealing with borderline personality disorder, you can get better and lead healthier, happier and more successful life.
At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can guide you to an accurate diagnosis and start you on the path to health.
The team at Honey Lake Clinic understands that effective treatment requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach, involving healing of your mind, body, and spirit.
We are here to offer hope and provide answers for you. We can guide you to an accurate diagnosis and start you on the path to a brighter tomorrow.