What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and how can it be managed?

What is Borderline Personality Disorder? Is it linked to suicide? How can it be managed and where can you find help?

If you’re struggling with BPD, you might experience some of the following:

  • Do you experience quick changes in self-identity and self image, seeing yourself as ‘bad’ or feeling like you don’t exist?
  • Do you struggle to manage your emotions and behaviour, shifting quickly from sadness to anger? Is your anger often inappropriate and sudden? Do you experience intense mood swings, which may push others away?
  • Do your relationships tend to be unstable, and you often feel an intense fear of abandonment or instability?
  • Do you struggle with being alone or feeling lonely?
  • Are you often impulsive, engaging in risky behaviour such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating, drug abuse or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a job or ending a positive relationship?
  • Do you experience suicidal behaviours or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation, rejection or abandonment?

What causes BPD?

Currently, research indicates that BPD is the result of a combination of both genetics and environmental factors.

Those who have experienced abuse and trauma, especially in childhood, are more at risk of developing BPD. This can include emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Neglect and mistreatment by a parent often also plays a significant role in increasing risk.

Correlations between BPD & suicide

BPD is a heavily stigmatised and complex disorder. Those struggling with the disorder experience intense and uncontrollable emotions, and without support, these emotions can be incredibly difficult to manage alone.

Approximately 75% of people with Borderline Personality Disorder attempt suicide. 10% of these are successful. Most suicides occur before the age of 40.

BPD can often be comorbid with other issues, including depression, and this can drive those struggling to cope in different ways.

Experiencing substance abuse issues or major depressive disorder alongside BPD also increases the seriousness and number of suicide attempts.

A history of childhood sexual abuse and BPD also increases the number of suicide attempts compared to no history of childhood sexual abuse.

Treatment for BPD

You don’t have to go through this alone.


If you’re experiencing suicidal ideation and self-harm, hospitalisation may be the best option. Treatment can help with skills to manage and cope with your condition.

Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

DBT is a form of psychotherapy (also called talk therapy). Psychotherapy helps you focus on your current ability to function, learn to manage uncomfortable and uncontrollable emotions, reduce impulsivity, and work on improving your own relationships.

DBT is considered a gold standard treatment for people with Borderline Personality Disorder. DBT aims to address symptoms of BPD by using a skills-based approach that teaches you emotion management, how to tolerate distress, and strategies for improving your relationships.

Schema-focused therapy

Schema-focused therapy is another form of psychotherapy that aims to help you identify unmet needs and how they have affected your thinking and actions throughout your life. It aims to promote healthy coping mechanisms by promoting positive life patterns.

Seek a psychiatrist & GP for support

Having a good psychiatrist and GP can be incredibly important in helping you to manage your BPD symptoms.

Suicide Prevention Crisis Numbers

If there is immediate risk to yourself or others, please call 000 or go straight to the Emergency Department.

National Lifeline 24-Hour Telephone Crisis Support:
13 11 14 (24 hours)

1300 789 978 (24 hours)

Kids Helpline (aged 5 – 25 yrs)
1800 551 800 (24 hours)

Beyondblue info line
1300 224 636

SANE mental health information
1800 187 263

Mental Health Emergency Response Line
08 9224 8888
1800 676 822 (24 hours)

Crisis Care Helpline 24/7
08 9223 1111 (Perth)
1800 199 008 (Statewide)

Samaritans Suicide Emergency Service
1800 198 313
(08) 9381 5555

Parent Line WA
1800 654 432

You can also find more support numbers here.

Struggling with BPD and need support? Talk to our psychologists today

Our psychologists at Clear Health Psychology can help. We offer support to those with BPD and other mental disorders to help you learn coping strategies and live a happy life.

Farzana Pithawalla

Farzana is a Registered Psychologist with AHPRA.  She is passionate about providing a safe environment for clients in a therapeutic space where they are able to express their thoughts and feelings without the fear of being judged.

Farzana is experienced in and trained in providing CBT, DBT, Schema-Focused Therapy, and trauma-informed care.

Book an appointment with one of our psychologists by calling the number below or contact us here.

Farzana is a registered psychologist