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Borderline Personality Disorders

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Feb 21, 2006 | 0 Comments

My significant other has lost his/her mind!!! How many times have you said (or at least thought) these words? I recently had a case in which a party's mental status was a legitimate issue. In the course of my representation, I had to research the issues of Borderline Personality Disorder. I thought it might be helpful to share some basic information on this topic with you.
The DSM-IV sets out the following diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder:
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5);
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation;
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self;
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). (does not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5);
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior;
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days);
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness;
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights);
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

To get more information on this topic, you can visit, a list of resources for people who care about someone with borderline personality disorder. You might also want to read the following books on this topic: Stop Walking on Eggshells; Coping When Somebody You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreiger;Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Tense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship by Christine Ann Lawson; and The Borderline Personality: Vision and Healing by Nathan Schwartz-Salant. Thanks to Clarke Logan Young Law Office of Santa Monica, California for their excellent post on this important topic.

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J. Benjamin Stevens

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