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What are the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents?

written by: Sanchia Fernandes • edited by: jen2008 • updated: 8/22/2010

Borderline personality disorder in adolescents primarliy affects teens between 13 and 17 years of age. Find out how this disorder affects patients and learn to identify the signs and symptoms of this condition.

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    What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

    Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by an unstable manner of interaction with people. Patients suffering from this disorder are often impulsive in nature, have various behavioral problems, suffer from anxiety and show signs of disturbed cognitive patterns. Children that have been victims of physical abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse and children who haven’t been raised in nurturing environments are at greatest risk of developing borderline personality disorder.

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    Is your Adolescent Suffering From Borderline Personality Disorder?

    Image: Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net Since adolescents have to still grow into mature adults, rebellious behaviors or misdemeanors shouldn’t be confused with borderline personality disorders. To confirm that any given adolescent is suffering from this condition, the child should have exhibited the symptoms of the disorder for almost one year (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition). In order to identify whether your adolescent may be suffering from borderline personality disorder, you need to watch for the signs and symptoms of this condition.

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    Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents

    Adolescents who are suffering from this disorder may feel constantly anxious, have an unstable self image and often engage in impulsive behaviors like sex and substance abuse, amidst others. Such patients also end up hurting themselves by performing acts of self-mutilation. Most adolescents that suffer from this condition live in fear of being abandoned. If they interact with others, they tend to either over idealize their friends/peers or entirely devaluate them. Lets now take an in depth look at these behaviors and traits that are exhibited by such adolescents.

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    What to Watch For:

    • Adolescents suffering from this disorder have thoughts of suicide and often exhibit certain behaviors that suggest the same. They may either take an overdose of medication or show signs of self destructive behaviors. Such adolescents may cut or burn their skin or even pull at their skin or hair in anger.
    • Separation anxiety is a major characteristic of borderline personality disorder in adolescents. Patients will resort to suicide attempts or self destruction if they feel abandoned. For instance, they show signs of anger and resentment to people who fail to show up on time.
    • Adolescents who suffer from borderline personality disorder cannot maintain stable relationships. They either see people as being caring and nurturing or cruel and hostile. These unstable relations are evident in their interactions with nurse practitioners.
    • They also have a very unstable self image. They frequently change their personal goals, the values they believe in and their future plans. They may also want to change the friends they interact with.
    • Some patients suffering from borderline personality disorder may also be suffering from major depression. Since the negative feelings and emotions are common to both types of disorders, the doctor will have to rule out the presence of depression when diagnosing the condition.
    • Patients suffering from this condition will also appear paranoid, immensely angry and may get into physical fights with others.
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    Prognosis

    If you feel that your adolescent is exhibiting any or all of the symptoms of this disorder, visit a psychotherapist to confirm the diagnosis. With medical intervention and counseling this disorder can well be brought under control.

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