Borderline Syndrome: What It Is and How to Identify It

Unstable emotions, fluctuating moods, and an intense fear of being abandoned. These are some of the defining characteristics of borderline syndrome, also known as a borderline personality disorder (BPD).

These characteristics caused by the syndrome end up resulting in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with a borderline can also experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from hours to days.

People with borderline syndrome are also more likely to have other psychological disorders, such as anxiety, eating disorders, or suicidal thoughts. 

Follow the article and find out what are the symptoms, causes, and treatment for this disorder.

Symptoms of borderline syndrome

In addition to the above behavioral characteristics, other symptoms can manifest in people with borderline:

  • Fear of abandonment, rejection, or feeling alone;
  • Distorted self-image;
  • Intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and spouses (they may idealize or feel extreme anger);
  • Impulsive behaviors: taking drugs or alcohol in excess, compulsive spending or driving at high speed;
  • Self-destructive behavior: mutilation or recurrent suicidal behaviors;
  • Intense and variable mood;
  • Intolerance to frustration;
  • Paranoid thoughts or thoughts that take a proportion that does not match reality.

In addition, borderline people are afraid that their emotions will get out of control, thus tending to demonstrate irrational behavior in stressful situations. They also tend to have a greater emotional dependence on people close to them for fear of rejection or being alone. 

What are the causes?

There is no specific cause for the problem, but there are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of the syndrome. Are they:

  • Genetic predisposition;
  • Neurological dysfunction;
  • Sexual abuse or traumatic childhood experience;
  • Bullying or psychological abuse.


Borderline syndrome is not always easy to diagnose, and it can often even be confused with bipolar disorder, due to the similar symptoms.

A psychiatrist or psychologist are the professionals indicated to diagnose the syndrome. Diagnosis is based on conversations with the patient. Exams may also be indicated to rule out other diseases or disorders.

Factors such as family and personal history are also taken into account for the diagnosis.

Does Borderline have a cure?

Technically, borderline syndrome has no cure. However, through effective treatment, it is possible to live with the disorder and improve interpersonal relationships and management of emotions.


A psychologist and psychiatrist carry out the treatment for borderline syndrome, the most indicated being the joint work of both, which consists of the use of medication and therapy sessions. Learn more about each of them.

  • Medicines:

The medications used to treat the disorder aim to alleviate symptoms in isolation, and maybe a combination of antidepressants and mood stabilizers, thus helping with depressive symptoms, controlling anger and impulsivity.

  • Therapies:

Through psychotherapy, it is possible to help the patient to have self-knowledge and control over their thoughts, actions, and emotions. The psychologist will help through methods that help the patient to face everyday situations, such as situations of anger or stress, for example.

Currently, there are three types of therapeutic approaches that can treat the disorder. Are they:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) helps patients identify their own behaviors that may be harmful to themselves or those around them.

Through this type of therapy, the person can better manage "paranoid" thoughts and also reduce anxiety.

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy:

The basis of this therapy is mindfulness, that is, it helps to deal with their own emotions, thus reducing impulsive and self-destructive behaviors and improving the patient's interpersonal relationships.

This approach also uses concepts and strategies applied in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).

  • Family therapy:

Family members of the person with a borderline can also conduct therapy sessions. It's called family therapy. 

Family members often do not know how to act or deal with this situation, therefore, family therapy helps in this process.

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