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Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder in Teenage Girls

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Borderline personality disorder can affect people of varying ages and from different walks of life. Unfortunately, even young women and teenage girls are subject to this disorder’s grasp. Also known as BPD, borderline personality disorder can cause difficulties and challenges to occur in the lives of those who suffer from it. While this mental health disorder can be challenging for anyone, borderline personality disorder in teens can be problematic for specific reasons.

No doubt, young women who experience the symptoms of this disorder often feel an extreme amount of discomfort. After all, teenage years are already riddled with anxiety, uncertainty, confusion, hormonal changes, and more. When BPD is part of the mix, it can cause even more issues to arise in a young woman’s life.

Due to the severity of the effects of borderline personality disorder, it’s absolutely necessary and vital to seek professional help when facing this disorder. Those who suffer from it can find solace in the fact that help and hope are accessible. First, however, healing must begin with education and information. Learning more about borderline personality disorder in teens can help parents and guardians to find the best resources for the young individuals in their lives.

An Overview of Borderline Personality Disorder

It may be beneficial to learn a little more about BPD before learning about how it affects teenagers. This is especially the case if you are a parent or guardian of a young woman you suspect may have BPD. 

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that can cause many difficulties in people’s lives. It can prevent individuals from showing self-control as impulsivity is a common symptom of BPD. 


Signs and Symptoms of BPD

This psychological disorder often causes individuals to experience the following symptoms:

  • Intense paranoia
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Emotional instability
  • Behavioral impulsivity
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Intense and unseemly anger
  • Unstable moods;mood swings
  • Intense fear of being abandoned
  • Poor self-esteem or lack of self-regard
  • Occasional dissociation (feelings of disconnection from oneself; numbness)


Individuals who have borderline personality disorder also often experience difficulties in their interpersonal relationships. Those with BPD may have trouble trusting others. They may also have a severe concern that people will abandon them. These challenges often cause relationships to fail or become extremely unhealthy. Frequent arguing and disagreements are, unfortunately, common among those who suffer from BPD. 

The impulsivity that comes with BPD can be dangerous. It can lead to risky sexual activity or other problematic behavioral patterns.

Of course, not all of these symptoms will point directly to the presence of borderline personality disorder. For instance, a person who exhibits impulsive behavior or low self-esteem may not have BPD. In order to properly diagnose an individual, medical professionals observe a person’s overall mental health. If at least five of the symptoms of BPD occur and persist, it is more likely that the individual has this disorder.

Specialists do not know of a specific cause for BPD. But, they believe genetics, environment, and the structure of the brain all play a role in the development of this disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens: Can Personality Disorders Be Diagnosed Before Age 18?

Medical specialists know much about the effects of BPD on adults. However, not much information is known about borderline personality disorder in teens. In fact, many are even unsure about whether personality disorders can be diagnosed before age 18.

The main concern when it comes to diagnosing borderline personality disorder in teens is the belief that a teen’s personality hasn’t fully developed. Also, many young people experience mood swings and lack a stable sense of self. It can be difficult to be certain whether teenagers are experiencing the challenging yet normal changes that occur at their age or if they’re dealing with a personality disorder.

Still, many medical professionals believe that teenagers can indeed suffer from BPD. In fact, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), BPD affects between 0.9% and 3% of teenagers. 

Also, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) states that teens can receive a diagnosis of BPD. If symptoms persist for at least a year, it’s possible that a young individual (under 18) may have BPD.

About BPD: The Statistics

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, about 1.4% of adults in the U.S. suffer from BPD. Around 75% of the individuals who have BPD are women. 

It may also be helpful to understand the prevalence of BPD in teen boys versus BPD in young ladies. Are teenage girls more likely to suffer from this personality disorder than boys? 

Some experts find that the likelihood of BPD is somewhat equal in men and women. So, it’s probable that the same would be said for teenage boys and girls. 

Why Do Teens Develop Borderline Personality Disorder?

Again, the cause of BPD is not actually clear to experts. But professionals do identify a host of risk factors. For instance, some young people who suffer from BPD have experienced some sort of abuse or abandonment.

Children who have lost parents or been neglected by them may also be at risk for developing borderline personality disorder. Also, children of individuals who have severe mental health disorders may develop borderline personality disorder.

Addressing and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens

When it comes to treating borderline personality disorder, it can be difficult to determine the best approach. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to treating this mental health disorder. So it is essential to seek help from medical professionals who understand the psychological needs of those with BPD. 

Borderline personality disorder in teens may be treated with therapy. Or, individuals who have this disorder may be prescribed medication. Such prescriptions may work to treat depression or other emotional disturbances.

Some individuals may find themselves in serious, life-threatening situations as well. For instance, suicidal ideation caused by BPD may lead to suicidal attempts. Self-harming behaviors can also occur as a result of borderline personality disorder. These issues may result in the need for intensive, professional, and medical care. Some people may require hospitalization in order to get the help they need.

Of course, the best method of care for one person may not be the best method for another individual. This is why it’s important to handle cases and possible cases of BPD with the help of therapists and medical teams. Seeking help from such individuals can help to save your loved one’s life.

The Unfortunate Connection Between BPD and Addiction

Sadly, many who suffer from borderline personality disorder also develop substance use disorders. When a person struggles with a mental health disorder and addiction simultaneously, they have a dual diagnosis. Co-occurring conditions and disorders can make life difficult in many ways. A dual diagnosis can also have extremely and severely negative effects on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

Young adults and teens who suffer from BPD may find themselves struggling in various areas. They may be unable to maintain friendships or romantic relationships. They may constantly fear neglect or abandonment. These individuals may even develop codependent behaviors. 

Depression or anxiety may set in. As a result, young people suffering from BPD may feel hopeless, helpless, and empty. They may turn to substance use in order to deal with their emotional trouble. Alcohol or drug use may be the coping mechanism many people choose when suffering from borderline personality disorder.

Unfortunately, these habits can lead to the development of addiction. When individuals suffer from addiction and mental health disorders, they may have trouble overcoming either or both of these issues. This is why professional help is necessary.

Find Hope and Healing at New Directions for Women

Here at New Directions for Women, we understand the need for support and guidance when dealing with mental health disorders. So, if your teenage daughter or friend is suffering from the impact of borderline personality disorder, we’re here for you. Our mission is to serve those in need of assistance, offering professional input and direction. Please know that we will do what it takes to provide you with the best of care.

If addiction and mental health disorders are affecting you or another woman you know, let us help! New Directions for Women works to encourage, uplift, motivate, and inspire women to pursue overall health. Whether you’re seeking freedom from addiction or healing from the effects of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, we can help.

We offer therapy services and treatment for various types of addiction. Please don’t wait any longer to get the treatment and guidance you need. Allow us to serve you here at New Directions for Women. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals is standing by to help you! Simply contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can work with you. We look forward to assisting you as you walk in a new and healthier direction, toward a life of freedom and peace.




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