An Introduction to BPD
Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness that has been estimated to affect as much as 5.9% of the population (1). BPD can hinder an individual's attempt to function at even the most basic levels, while also negatively impacting friends and family members of the person suffering from it. Despite its prevalence, BPD has historically been marginalized and misunderstood, used even among clinicians as a catch-all diagnosis for patients who are considered "difficult" and resistant to treatment.
One of the core features of BPD is an impaired ability to regulate emotions (2). Consequently, the emotional life of someone with BPD is frequently volatile, with even minor events leading to a disproportionate, usually very negative response. This could manifest as rage in response to a perceived insult from a close friend or as a bout of intense despair, marked by a global sense of hopelessness and profound sadness after a small setback. Though these emotional states rarely last more than several hours, the frequency of these changes can have a very destabilizing effect on the individual.