As per the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Treatment Revision) definition , in order to qualify for the diagnosis of BPD, an individual must have at least five of the following symptoms:
- Unstable self-image, in that they may drastically and rapidly change in the way they perceive their own likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, goals, and intrinsic value as a person
- Unstable relationships, in that individuals with this disorder rapidly, drastically, and often frequently change from seeing another person as nearly perfect (idealizing) to seeing the other person as being virtually worthless (devaluing)
- Unstable emotions (affects), in that the sufferer experiences marked, rapid changes in feelings (for example, severe anger, joy, euphoria, anxiety, including panic attacks and depression) that are stress related, even if the stresses may be seen as minor or negligible to others
- Desperate efforts to avoid being abandoned, whether the abandonment is real or imagined
- Significant impulsivity, in that the person with BPD tends to act before thinking to the point that it is self-damaging (for example, sexual behaviors, spending habits, eating habits, driving behaviors, or in the use of substances)
- Recurring suicidal behaviors, threats, or attempts
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty managing their anger when it occurs
- Transient, stress-related paranoia or severe dissociation (lapses in memory)
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