Learn Different Types of BPD Symptoms to Help You on Your Healing Journey

By Jared Levenson - Reviewed on April 24, 2023
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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that can make life challenging for those who experience it. This disorder affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves, leading to a wide range of negative consequences.

People living with BPD often struggle with intense emotions, negative self-image, and difficulty in maintaining relationships. The pain, confusion, and distress caused by BPD can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, with the right treatment, it’s possible to reduce the symptoms of BPD and live a fulfilling life.

The Online Mental Health Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and accurate reviews on all available mental health services.

By reviewing the different types of BDP, we hope to help readers make more educated decisions when it comes to choosing the right treatment plan for themselves or their loved ones.

In this blog post, we’ll go over the different types of BPD, why they can be so challenging, and how understanding them can help you on your road to healing.

The four types of BPD are:

4 Types of Borderline Personality Disorder

1. Discouraged Borderline

2. Impulsive Borderline

3. Petulant Borderline

4. Self-destructive Borderline

Each type of BPD presents unique challenges and requires tailored treatment. Let’s dive a bit deeper into each to help you understand how they can show up in your life

Discouraged Borderline:

  • People with discouraged BPD may appear apathetic, disinterested, and passive-aggressive.
  • They struggle with feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, and despair.
  • They may not believe that they can achieve their goals or feel that they are worth the effort.
  • They may have difficulty initiating activities and may need to be coaxed into participating in social activities.
  • They may also be prone to self-harm, leading to cutting or other coping mechanisms.

Impulsive Borderline:

  • Impulsive BPD entails the constant search for stimulation and excitement, which can include risky or self-destructive behavior.
  • People with impulsive BPD often engage in substance abuse, unsafe sex, reckless driving, and overspending.
  • They’re more likely to have binge eating disorder or alcoholism, and their interpersonal relationships may be cyclical and unstable.

Petulant Borderline:

  • People with petulant BPD typically exhibit characteristics of passive-aggressive behavior, e.g. they may show resentment and discontent towards others.
  • They can become irritated easily, become resentful and lose their temper quickly.
  • They may intentionally neglect responsibilities or refuse to follow through with promises.
  • They may try to manipulate others to elicit sympathy.

Self-destructive Borderline:

  • Self-destructive BPD combines the worst elements of all three of the other subtypes, including behavior that is compulsive, secretive, and self-defeating.
  • This category includes self-harm, such as cutting or burning, and risky behaviors like promiscuity or drug addiction.
  • Self-destructive individuals with BPD may also struggle to trust others and feel hopeless.
  • People with BPD often experience suicidal thoughts or engage in suicidal behavior. They may experience intense feelings of rejection, which can drive them to behave in self-destructive ways.
  • They may also feel intense shame or guilt, and extreme feelings, which can make it difficult for them to seek help.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health condition that affects a person’s emotions and the way they perceive themselves and others. People with BPD often experience intense mood swings, unstable relationships, distorted self-image, and impulsive behavior.

This condition can make it difficult for a person to regulate their emotions, leading to major difficulties in daily life. It is important to seek professional help if you are struggling with BPD. There are many treatment options available to help manage the symptoms of BPD and improve your overall well-being.

What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that can cause extreme mood swings and unstable relationships. The exact cause of BPD is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Research from 20181 suggests that individuals with BPD may have experienced an early life trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, which can contribute to the development of the disorder. However, this study also notes that genetics is the leading cause of BPD.

Additionally, some studies suggest that certain brain abnormalities may play a role in the development of BPD.

Identifying Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects the way people feel and think about themselves and others.

If you think you may have BPD, it’s important to identify the symptoms. Some common symptoms of BPD include:

  • intense fear of abandonment
  • difficulty tolerating being alone
  • recurring thoughts of suicidal behavior
  • impulsive self-destructive behaviors
  • extreme anger
  • mood changes that last for days

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

List of Symptoms for the Different Types of BPD

There are several types of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and each treatment for borderline personality disorder has its distinct symptoms.

Here are some more of the common symptoms associated with different types of BPD:

Impulsive Type BPD:

  • Impulsive and reckless behavior, such as substance abuse, binge eating, and sexual promiscuity.
  • Poor impulse control leads to self-harm, suicidal ideation, or suicide attempts.
  • Difficulty controlling anger and aggressive behavior, leading to frequent conflicts and arguments.

Quiet Type BPD:

  • Fear of abandonment or rejection leads to intense clinginess and neediness in relationships.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness, loneliness, and worthlessness, lead to depression and anxiety.
  • Difficulty expressing emotions or connecting with others due to social anxiety and shyness.

Discouraged Type BPD:

  • Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, lead to avoiding social situations and self-isolation.
  • Chronic self-doubt and self-criticism, lead to perfectionism, self-harm, or suicidal ideation.
  • Co-dependency and attachment issues, lead to a pattern of relying on others for emotional stability and validation.

How to Treat the 4 Types of BPD

If you have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), it is essential to receive appropriate treatment to manage symptoms effectively.

The main approach to treating BPD is psychotherapy or talk therapy.

Four types of psychotherapy are often used to treat BPD, including:

  1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  2. Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT)
  3. Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP)
  4. Schema-Focused Therapy

While medication may not be the first-line treatment for BPD, doctors may prescribe antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers to manage certain symptoms.

It is also essential to practice good self-care, such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet, to manage mood swings, irritability, and impulsive behavior associated with BPD.

Remember that treatment for BPD is a long-term process, and it may take several months or years to see significant improvement. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to manage your symptoms and live a fulfilling life.

Use Zocdoc to Find Nearby Specialists for BPD

Zocdoc is an online medical care appointment booking service that allows patients to find and book appointments with doctors and healthcare providers based on their location and insurance coverage.

Zocdoc’s database includes thousands of healthcare providers across various specialties, making it a useful resource for those seeking to find a specialist for borderline personality disorder near them.

Here are some steps people can follow to find a specialist for borderline personality disorder near them using Zocdoc:

  1. Visit the Zocdoc website or download the mobile app
  2. Enter their location and insurance information
  3. Select the “Borderline Personality Disorder” condition from the list of specialties
  4. Choose any specific preferences they may have, such as gender or spoken language
  5. Browse through the available providers and read reviews from other patients
  6. Book an appointment with the provider that best meets their needs
  7. Attend their appointment and begin seeking treatment for borderline personality disorder

What are Coping Skills for Someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder?

Coping skills are techniques and strategies that can help someone with Borderline Personality Disorder manage their symptoms and emotions.

Some examples include playing music, exercising, engaging in activities that bring joy, finding support from others, practicing mindfulness, and grounding oneself.

It is important for someone with BPD to find healthy coping strategies that work for them and to consistently practice them for improved mental health.

List of BPD Symptoms

Here are the bullet points describing the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) with brief descriptions and relevant links for further information:

  • Fear of abandonment: People with BPD are often deeply afraid that their loved ones will abandon them. This fear can be so intense that they may engage in desperate behaviors to avoid being left alone. Mayo Clinic
  • Intense and unstable relationships: Those with BPD may experience intense swings in their feelings towards others. They may idolize someone one moment and then despise them the next, causing chaos and dysfunction in their relationships. NIMH
  • Distorted sense of self: Individuals with BPD may vacillate between feelings of grandiosity and feelings of worthlessness. They may struggle to understand who they truly are and may change themselves to please those around them. NHS
  • Emotional instability: People with BPD often feel emotions more deeply than others and can have difficulty regulating their feelings. They may experience intense anger, anxiety, or depression that lasts for hours or days. Johns Hopkins Medicine
  • Impulsive behavior: Those with BPD may act impulsively without considering the consequences of their actions. This can manifest in reckless driving, substance abuse, or risky sexual behavior. Healthdirect
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness: People with BPD may feel a persistent sense of emptiness, even when surrounded by loved ones or engaging in activities they once enjoyed. Mayo Clinic
  • Problems with anger: Individuals with BPD may struggle with intense and inappropriate anger that flares up suddenly and is difficult to control. This can lead to damaged relationships and other negative consequences. CAMH

6 Common Signs You Have BPD

  1. Extreme emotional swings – Those with BPD may experience frequent and intense mood swings, shifting from happiness to despair in a short amount of time.
  2. Fear of abandonment – People with BPD often have a persistent fear of being abandoned, even by those closest to them. This fear can lead to issues with trust and relationships.
  3. Impulsive or compulsive behavior – BPD can cause people to exhibit reckless or impulsive behavior, such as substance abuse or promiscuity. This can lead to serious consequences, both physical and emotional.
  4. Unstable sense of self – Those with BPD may struggle with a consistent sense of self and may have trouble forming a stable identity. This can lead to feelings of emptiness, confusion, and instability.
  5. Intense anger – People with BPD may experience episodes of intense anger, which can manifest as outbursts, sarcastic or bitter comments, or even physical fights.
  6. Dissociative symptoms – Dissociation is a feeling of detachment from one’s body or surroundings, and those with BPD may experience dissociative symptoms as well.

4 Tips to Get Heal from BDP

  1. Engage in physical activity to help regain control over your emotions.
  2. Set limits and boundaries for yourself and others to appropriately express emotions.
  3. Practice stress-reduction techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or light exercises like yoga or walking.
  4. Build a strong support system of family and close friends who understand and can help with borderline personality disorder.

Note: It is important to remember that treatment for BPD involves one to two sessions per week with a mental health counselor.

For those seeking natural remedies, psychotherapy (talk therapy) is almost always the main treatment option.

What is Type 1 Type 2 BPD?

Type 1 and Type 2 BPD do not exist. However, there are different types of bipolar disorder (BD) and other borderline personality disorder types (BPD).

BD has two main forms: bipolar I disorder and bipolar II disorder.

  1. Bipolar I involves episodes of mania, which can last for at least one week and may involve depression.
  2. On the other hand, Bipolar II involves hypomania and depression.

Understanding the difference between these disorders is key to getting the right diagnosis and treatment.

What is The Mildest Form of BPD?

If you’re asking what the mildest form of BPD is, it’s important to note that it’s not an official diagnosis. However, some experts use the term “quiet borderline personality disorder” to describe a subtype of BPD that tends to show fewer outward symptoms.

People with this type of BPD often direct their intense emotions inwards and struggle with feelings of emptiness, shame, and guilt.

Is BPD On The Spectrum?

Yes, there is an overlap between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and the autism spectrum, although they are separate diagnoses.

Research shows that both conditions have similar challenges, such as difficulty with emotional regulation and interpersonal relationships.

However, BPD is more commonly seen in females, while autism is often associated with males.

Is Borderline a Type of Narcissism?

No, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is not a type of narcissism.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and BPD are two distinct mental health conditions. While both disorders may have symptoms of unstable relationships and emotional distress, as with other personality disorders they have different causes and treatment approaches.

  • According to Mayo Clinic2, BPD is a mental health condition characterized by intense and unstable emotions, distorted self-image, impulsive behavior, and unstable relationships.
  • On the other hand, NPD is a mental health condition characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and an excessive need for admiration.

It is important to note that these are different disorders and require different treatment approaches. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be struggling with either BPD or NPD, it is important to seek professional help.

What are The 5 Characteristics of BPD?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects a person’s sense of self, emotions, and relationships.

According to the DSM-5 criteria, the five characteristic features of BPD include:

  1. An unstable sense of self with a poor ability for self-direction.
  2. Impaired ability to pursue meaningful short-term goals with satisfaction.
  3. Instability in interpersonal relationships.
  4. Emotional dysregulation and difficulty managing intense emotions.
  5. Marked impulsivity in multiple areas of life.

What is the Difference Between DPD and BPD?

Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) share some similarities but also have distinct differences.

While BPD is characterized by rapid mood swings and impulsive behavior, DPD is more stable but marked by a strong need for approval and fear of abandonment.

Additionally, BPD often presents with anger and aggression, whereas those with DPD tend to be more submissive. It’s also worth noting that the two personality disorders can sometimes co-occur, but both are treatable.

What is Stage 4 Borderline Personality Disorder?

Stage 4 Borderline Personality Disorder is not an official diagnosis. The traditional diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is dimensional and requires fulfillment of four of seven personality traits. The major indicators of BPD include an inability to maintain healthy relationships, intense mood swings, and impulsive behavior leading to risky behavior.

How Do They Test You for BPD?

If you are wondering how a BPD diagnosis is tested, the good news is that there’s no specific test for BPD.

  • The diagnosis of BPD is typically made through a comprehensive psychiatric interview and medical examination by a licensed mental health provider.
  • Psychiatrists or psychologists may use internationally recognized criteria and ask you to answer questions related to your feelings, behaviors, and relationships.
  • There are no imaging tests, blood tests, or psychological tests that can determine if a person has BPD. Instead, the diagnosis is based on several factors through a thorough assessment.

Is Quiet BPD a Subtype?

Yes, Quiet BPD is a subtype of Borderline Personality Disorder. However, the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) does not officially recognize Quiet BPD as a separate subtype.

Quiet BPD is a term used to describe individuals who experience the same symptoms as those with traditional BPD but display a more internalized presentation.

Types of BPD Conclusion:

BPD is a challenging disorder that can have serious consequences, but it is treatable. Understanding the different types of BPD can be an important step in getting the right treatment.

Each type of BPD requires a customized approach, including therapy, medication, and a strong support system. If you or someone you love is struggling with BPD, there is online therapy help available. You don’t have to suffer alone. Remember, with the right treatment and support, it’s possible to reduce the symptoms of BPD and live a fulfilling life.

If you have any questions about types of BPD, or have a suggestion on what mental health service, app, or course the Online Mental Health Reviews team should buy and try next, please leave a comment below. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.


  1. Kulacaoglu, F., & Kose, S. (2018, November 18). Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): In the Midst of Vulnerability, Chaos, and Awe. Brain Sciences, 8(11), 201. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8110201
  2. Borderline personality disorder – Symptoms and causes. (2022, December 13). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237

If You’re In An Emergency

If you are in an emergency and need help right away, please call 911 or 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also contact the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential service which provides information about mental or substance abuse disorders and can assist in finding treatment 24/7.

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