Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder: Symptoms and Causes


Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), also known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), is a complex and challenging mental health condition characterized by unstable emotions, impulsive behaviors, and difficulties in maintaining interpersonal relationships. Individuals with EUPD often experience intense emotional turmoil, making it hard for them to cope with everyday life. In this article, we will explore the symptoms and potential causes of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, shedding light on this often misunderstood condition.

Understanding Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder

Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder is part of the Cluster B personality disorders, which are marked by emotional dysregulation and dramatic behaviors. Individuals with EUPD might have difficulty controlling their emotions, leading to rapid mood swings and feelings of emptiness. Understanding the core features of this disorder is essential to recognize and address its impact on affected individuals and their loved ones.

Symptoms of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder

  1. Intense Fear of Abandonment: People with EUPD may have an overwhelming fear of being abandoned or rejected by loved ones, leading to frantic efforts to avoid real or perceived abandonment.
  2. Unstable Relationships: Individuals with EUPD often struggle to maintain stable and healthy relationships. They might idealize others one moment and quickly switch to feelings of anger or disappointment.
  3. Emotional Instability: Frequent and intense mood swings are common in EUPD. Emotions can change rapidly, and individuals may experience extreme sadness, anxiety, or anger without apparent cause.
  4. Impulsive Behaviors: Impulsivity is a hallmark of EUPD. This may manifest in reckless spending, substance abuse, binge eating, or engaging in risky activities without considering potential consequences.
  5. Self-Harming Tendencies: Some individuals with EUPD may resort to self-harm as a way to cope with emotional pain or to express their feelings. This behavior can be dangerous and requires immediate attention.
  6. Chronic Feelings of Emptiness: People with EUPD often describe a persistent sense of emptiness or loneliness, even when surrounded by others.
  7. Identity Disturbance: Individuals may struggle with a stable self-image, leading to uncertainty about their goals, values, and interests.
  8. Intense Anger and Irritability: Outbursts of anger, often followed by feelings of guilt, are common in EUPD.
  9. Paranoia and Dissociation: Some individuals may experience brief periods of dissociation or paranoid thoughts during times of stress.
  10. Suicidal Thoughts: People with EUPD are at a higher risk of experiencing suicidal ideation or engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

Causes of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder

The exact causes of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder are not fully understood, but several factors may contribute to its development:

  1. Genetic Predisposition: There is evidence to suggest that genetics plays a role in predisposing individuals to EUPD. Having a family history of mood disorders or personality disorders may increase the risk.
  2. Childhood Trauma: Childhood experiences of neglect, abuse, or unstable environments can significantly impact emotional development and increase the likelihood of developing EUPD later in life.
  3. Brain Chemistry: Neurotransmitter imbalances, particularly involving serotonin and dopamine, may contribute to the emotional dysregulation seen in EUPD.
  4. Invalidating Environments: Growing up in an environment where emotions are dismissed or invalidated can hinder emotional growth and lead to difficulties in emotional regulation.
  5. Neurobiological Factors: Studies suggest that certain brain regions involved in emotion processing may be different in individuals with EUPD, contributing to emotional instability.


Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, or Borderline Personality Disorder, is a challenging condition that significantly affects an individual’s emotions, relationships, and overall well-being. Recognizing the symptoms and understanding the potential causes of EUPD is crucial in providing support and compassionate care to those living with this disorder. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can help individuals with EUPD lead fulfilling lives and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder be cured?

While there is no cure for EUPD, psychotherapy and support can help individuals manage symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Is EUPD the same as bipolar disorder?

No, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) is distinct from bipolar disorder. While both involve mood swings, EUPD primarily affects emotions and relationships, whereas bipolar disorder is characterized by mood episodes of depression and mania.

Can EUPD symptoms improve with age?

With appropriate treatment and support, individuals with EUPD may experience a reduction in symptom severity over time.

Is EUPD more common in men or women?

EUPD is more commonly diagnosed in women than in men, though it can affect people of any gender.

What is the best treatment for EUPD?

Psychotherapy, particularly Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is considered the most effective treatment for EUPD. Medications may be prescribed to manage specific symptoms, such as depression or anxiety.


  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    • Website:
    • Source: The NIMH provides comprehensive information on various mental health conditions, including Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, with research-based resources and treatment options.
  2. Mayo Clinic
    • Website:
    • Source: Mayo Clinic is a reputable medical center that offers reliable information about different health conditions, including symptoms, causes, and available treatments for Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.
  3. (American Psychiatric Association)
    • Website:
    • Source: The American Psychiatric Association’s website offers valuable insights into various psychiatric disorders, including Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, with updates based on the latest research.
  4. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
    • Website:
    • Source: NAMI provides support and education on mental health issues, including resources for individuals and families affected by Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.
  5. Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center
    • Website:
    • Source: This resource center offers specialized information on Borderline Personality Disorder, including articles, tools, and support for those seeking knowledge about the condition.

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