4 types of borderline personality disorder


In this issue, we will discuss the four main types of borderline personality disorder and how they can have a negative impact on our mental health.

Table of contents

☕️ Good Morning Friends, Today we'll talk about the four types of borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is, according to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, a general pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affect with marked impulsivity, which is already present in early adulthood and manifests itself in a variety of settings.

Nine characteristics are the diagnostic criteria of the disorder. However, there is a large variation from one person to another that meet these criteria.

For this reason, researchers have tried to define different types of borderline personality disorder. One of these typologies, which has been influential, is that of the American psychologist Théodore Millon.

Diagnosis of limited personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed according to nine criteria established in the DSM-5, 5th edition of the "Demic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disordersnone" of the American Psychiatric Association.

Diagnostic criteria

It is a general mode of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects with marked impulsivity, which is present in early adulthood and in various contexts, as evidenced by the following events:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment;
  2. Mode of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by the alternation between the extreme positions of excessive idealization and devaluation;
  3. Disturbance of identity: marked and persistent instability of the image or notion of self;
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas potentially harmful to the subject (e.g.: spending, sexuality, drug addiction, dangerous driving, bulimia attacks;
  5. Repetition of behaviors, gestures, or threats of harm to one's life, or self-harm;
  6. Emotional instability due to marked mood reactivity (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually for a few hours and rarely more than a few days);
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness;
  8. Intense and inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g. frequent manifestations of a bad mood, constant anger, or repeated fights);
  9. Transient occurrence in stressful situations of persecutory ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

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Four types of borderline personality disorder

American psychologist Theodore Millon (1928-2014) and his colleagues identified 4 types of borderline personality disorder. However, not all people who meet the diagnostic criteria belong to one of these types.

1. Discouraged type

The discouraged borderline personality shares characteristics with dependent and/or avoiding personality disorders.

People who correspond to this type tend to attach themselves in a submissive way to only one or two people. They feel insecure, lack autonomy, and fear abandonment.

They need approval and to feel accepted. They feel anger that they often try to repress when they are disappointed in their relationships.

2. Impulse type

The impulsive borderline personality has points in common with histrionic and/or antisocial personality disorders.

People belonging to this type seek stimulation and attention. They can act impulsively and often dangerously without worrying about others or possible consequences.

They can go from euphoria to abate when their expectations are disappointed.

3. Type of petulant

The borderline personality of the petulant type has traits of a passive-aggressive or negativist personality.

People belonging to this type often tend to feel dissatisfaction and anger in their relationships.

They can be irritable and impatient. They have mood swings and can be manipulative in order to gain control.

4. Self-destructive type

All borderline personality types are sometimes self-destructive, perhaps up to self-harm. In the self-destructive type, however, self-destruction plays a greater role.

These people can abuse substances or engage in risky activities that provide adrenaline without having properly prepared for them.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative, I have no authority to make a diagnosis or recommend treatment. I invite you to visit a psychologist to treat your particular case.