How is borderline personality disorder diagnosed?
Personality continues to evolve throughout child and adolescent development. Because of this, healthcare providers don’t typically diagnose someone with borderline personality disorder until after the age of 18. Occasionally, a person younger than 18 may be diagnosed with BPD if symptoms are significant and last at least a year.
Personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder, can be difficult to diagnose, as most people with a personality disorder lack insight into their disruptive behavior and thought patterns.
When they do seek help, it’s often due to conditions such as anxiety or depression as a result of the problems created by their personality disorder, such as divorce or lost relationships, not the disorder itself.
A licensed mental health professional — such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker — can diagnose borderline personality disorder based on the diagnostic criteria for BPD in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
They do so by performing a thorough interview and having conversations about symptoms. They ask questions that’ll shed light on:
- Personal medical history and family medical history, especially histories of mental health conditions.
- Previous work history.
- Impulse control.
Mental health professionals often work with the person’s family and friends to collect more insight into their behaviors and history.