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Borderline Personality Disorder


This information guide is intended for people with mild-to-moderate symptoms.  If you, or someone you know, needs support with mental health problems, in the first instance you should contact your GP. If required, your GP can then refer you to Mental Health Services in your local areas. If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, you should get immediate expert advice and assessment. It is important to know that support is available.


If you, or someone you know, needs urgent help or is in crisis, call NHS 24 on 111. If you just need to talk with someone, there is help available. The Samaritans are there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call them on 116 123 (freephone) or email: Breathing Space offers a confidential phone line for anyone in Scotland feeling low, anxious or depressed. You can call free on 0800 83 85 87.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is also sometimes called Emotionally Unstable PD (EUPD). There are also other Personality Disorder types, which can overlap with BPD symptoms. The term 'Borderline' was originally used because doctors used to think it was on the border between two different disorders - Neurosis and Psychosis.

See NHS Inform for further information of BPD.

Symptoms Of BPD

Everyone is an individual, and no 2 people with this diagnosis have exactly the same combination of symptoms.

The main symptoms are:-

  • Intense, highly changeable moods.
  • Long lasting feelings of emptiness.
  • Extreme reactions to feeling abandoned.
  • Regular self-harming, suicidal thoughts, intent or behaviours.
  • Unstable, intense relationships with others.
  • Confused feeling about your identity. (Not being sure what your identity is/switching identity according to who you are with.)
  • Being impulsive in ways that could be damaging. For example - overspending, sex with multiple partners, substance abuse (alcohol, over the counter drugs, prescription drugs, illegal or street drugs), reckless driving and binge eating.
  • Difficulty controlling your anger. For example, losing your temper or getting into fights.
  • Feeling paranoid, hearing voices or seeing things that are not really there when you are stressed.

Having a diagnosis of Personality Disorder does not make you a bad person.

Self-Care for Personality Disorder

Everyone is an individual, and different things work for different people. 

  • Take a minute out and try to slow down your breathing
  • Reassure yourself
  • Seek out people who can help you - friends/family/professional
  • Stay away from people who won't help you

STOP Skill

   S - Stop for a minute

   T - Take a breath/Take a step back from the situation

   O - Observe what is happening (what are you thinking/feeling)

   P - Proceed mindfully - think about your actions



   T - Temperature (splash your face with water, or use ice pack)

   I - Intense exercise - even just for a short while

   P - Paced breathing (trying to slow your breathing down or breathe in for 5 and out for 7)

   P - Pairing muscle relaxation with your breathing

Self-Help Resources

NHS Inform has more information relating to personality disorder

NHS24 Available 24hrs - 7 days a week. Dial 111.

Breathing Space Mon-Thu 6pm - 2am. 24hr support from Fri 6pm - Mon 6am. Dial 0800 83 85 87.

Samaritans 24hrs - 7 days a week. Dial 116 123. 

Shout 24hrs - 7 days a week. Text 85258.

Borderline and Beyond Patient Leaflet can be found here.

Get Support Now

A life buoy at sea

Some people find that talking with friends and family about their feelings can be a real source of support for coping with distress or suicidal thoughts. It might be helpful for them to map their support network and think about people they could call if their feeling suicidal. Other people may prefer to seek more professional support or call a helpline such as Breathing Space, Samaritans or Shout.

  • Breathing Space: Call 0800 83 85 87
  • Samaritans: Call 116 123
  • SHOUT Crisis Text service also available 24/7 Text SHOUT to 85258

For some people they may be finding it difficult to cope and may think of ending their life, if you are concerned about your mental health and wellbeing, you can contact your G.P. within opening hours. If you feel you are in immediate danger, please call 999 for assistance.



Last reviewed: 17/11/2023

Next review date: 15/03/2024

Approved By: NHSGGC MH Supported Self-Management App Editorial Group

Reviewer name(s): NHSGGC MH Supported Self-Management App Editorial Group .