Diagnosing Borderline Syndrome

Diagnosing someone with Borderline Syndrome is difficult and should always be done by a specialist. This is because other mental health problems may mask the symptoms of this disorder. Borderline Syndrome is characterized by behaviors that swing between two extremes. Nine specific criteria are used to make the diagnosis.

Consult a Specialist for Borderline Syndrome

If you think that you or someone you know may have Borderline Syndrome, it is important to see a psychiatric specialist for a proper diagnosis. According to the Clinic and Polyclinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University Hospital in Bonn, Germany, a specialist will conduct an in-depth interview with the patient to make the diagnosis. The patient's personal history, including interpersonal relationships, emotions, and their development, will be examined. Possible genetic factors will also be considered. Although there is no standardized test, a diagnostic procedure called the DSM IV is used, which requires at least five of the nine criteria to be met.

Nine Criteria for Borderline Diagnosis

The DBT Self-Help Group in Duisburg, Germany, states that among the nine criteria for Borderline Syndrome, one is a chronic feeling of emptiness. People who desperately try to prevent being abandoned meet one of these criteria, whether or not the fear of abandonment is real or imagined. Another criterion is a drastic shift in interpersonal relationships. For example, individuals may first idealize their partner, then strongly devalue them because they fail to meet high expectations.

Distorted Self-Image and Self-Harm

People with Borderline Personality Disorder also have a distorted or unstable self-image. Dissatisfaction with themselves can lead to self-destructive behavior, which is another criterion. For example, individuals may spend a lot of money, abuse drugs, steal, or binge eat. If this self-destructive behavior escalates and leads to suicide threats, attempts, or self-harm, another criterion is met.

Impulsive Behavior in Borderline Syndrome

Other criteria include extreme mood swings that range from euphoria to irritability and anxiety, which can turn into violent outbursts. The constant anger can trigger physical fights. The last criterion is the presence of signs of identity loss and temporary delusions. Despite these established criteria, it is important to never self-diagnose Borderline Personality Disorder, as only a specialist can properly diagnose this disorder.