Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that is commonly misconceived by the general population and even some healthcare experts.

It is also a disorder that is capable of negatively impacting the lives of others. Because of these two issue issues, there have been numerous myths surrounding BPD.

If you or someone you know have BPD, you must distinguish the facts from the myths to better understand the illness and prepare for recovery. Here are six of the most common myths about BPD.

Myth One: Borderline personality disorder is untreatable

This is totally not true; BPD is treatable. If you feel you have BPD, don’t let this myth discourage you from seeking therapy or make you feel helpless.

Being diagnosed with this illness doesn’t mean that you will experience the symptoms of BPD for the rest of your life. Conscious efforts and effective treatment, such as psychotherapy, can immensely reduce the severity of BPD symptoms and may help you live a more fulfilling life.

Even without treatment, the symptoms of BPD may subside over time; some people with borderline personality disorder are capable of functioning at a higher level than others, so recovery varies with each person.

Myth Two: Everybody with BPD are victims of childhood trauma and abuse

Most times, well-meaning people who know little about BPD believe it is a result of abuse experienced by the person in their childhood.

This can significantly influence the way people talk to you or interact with you if they know you have BPD, which can be frustrating, especially if you did not experience abuse.

It can feel like your own experience is different or isn’t understood. While some people with BPD may have been abused, it can’t be generalized to all patients and should be viewed from a more open perspective.

Currently, the cause of BPD is still unknown. However, the cause is generally attributed to a combination of environmental and biological factors, rather than linked to any one cause.

Myth Three: Children and adolescents can’t be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder

This topic has been the center of many debates for quite some time due to the generally accepted belief that personality is still developing throughout adolescence. However, children and adolescents can be diagnosed with BPD.

A concise standard for a BPD diagnosis has been laid out in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-V).  However, doctors must be cautious when giving a diagnosis, especially for borderline personality disorder, as the symptoms can often resemble typical adolescent behavior.

A mental health professional with experience with BPD can help tell apart them apart. Early diagnosis can especially helpful in making sure that the individual gets the appropriate intervention required to begin recovery.

Myth Four: Borderline is a variation of bipolar disorder

This is entirely false; BPD and bipolar disorder are completely different conditions. Although the symptoms of borderline and bipolar may appear somewhat similar, they are two very distinct disorders.

People with borderline are often misdiagnosed with bipolar because even healthcare professionals lack complete knowledge about BPD, further complicating the problem.

It is also vital to note that medications used in treating bipolar disorder often do not work on people with BPD. Hence, a therapist with sound experience with BPD is essential to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Myth Five: Only women are diagnosed with BPD

While the former school of thought believed that women are more prone to developing BPD than men, more research has revealed that the rates are comparable.

But how people show symptoms of BPD differs. While women tend to exhibit symptoms like feelings of emptiness and mood swings, men tend to exhibit impulsive behaviors.

Myth Six: If you know an individual with BPD, you know them all

This is totally untrue; every individual is unique, and having borderline personality disorder doesn’t change that.

The standards for mental healthcare, as contained in the DSM–V, reveals that certain conditions must be met for BPD to be diagnosed. The requirement includes impairment in interpersonal relationships and personality functioning, and the way these impairments are showcased in different in every individual.

Also, not every person experiences specific symptoms the same way; one person’s mood swings and anger outbursts may be different than yours—every individual experience borderline personality disorder in his or her own way.


  1. Management of borderline personality disorder – CMAJ
  2. Borderline Personality Disorder – NLM
  3. Borderline Personality Disorder – Wiley
  4. Borderline personality disorder and the misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder – ScienceDirect