Harvard Mental Health Letter

In Brief: Encouraging news about borderline personality disorder

A long-term study that followed people with borderline personality disorder for 10 years offers some encouraging news about chances of recovery — along with some cautions.

One of the reasons that borderline personality disorder is challenging to treat is that its symptoms reflect ingrained patterns of thinking and behavior. The disorder has three defining clinical components: impulsiveness, emotional volatility, and a fragile sense of self. Symptoms can include rapidly shifting moods, paranoia, self-injury, and inability to maintain relationships.

Psychotherapy remains a mainstay of treatment, because it is the most effective way to change core personality traits and behaviors. But little is known about the long-term outcomes of borderline personality disorder.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »