Self-Injury and Borderline Personality Disorder

September 28, 2012 Christie Stewart

If you pick up a book, or look up a website to read the facts about self-injury; you will often find that it is almost always linked to Borderline Personality Disorder. That's because people with BPD often act impulsively in a self-destructive way - generally through alcohol abuse, drug abuse, promiscuity, over spending and gambling or self-injury.

75% of BPD Patients Self-Injure

The reasons for these impulsive behaviors is the immediate relief and gratification that they bring, in order to cope with stressful situations or painful emotions. Self-injury is one of the most common symptoms associated with BPD, and also one of the most misunderstood. In fact, some doctors diagnose patients who self-injure with Borderline Personality Disorder, without making sure any of the other criteria for the disorder are even present; because it is so common for the two to go hand-in-hand. It is estimated that up to 75% of people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder self-injure in some way.

My Experience with BPD and Self-Injury

I was diagnosed with BPD about 6 years ago, although I began self-injuring and displaying obvious signs of Borderline Personality Disorder 14 years ago (it is a general rule that a person cannot and should not be diagnosed with a personality disorder until they reach 18 years of age). I engaged in many impulsive and self-destructive behaviors throughout my teenage years and early adulthood, because I couldn't properly deal with the overwhelming emotions inside of me. I felt like the only way to cope with things was to numb myself to the pain by engaging in impulsive and reckless behaviors, especially self-injury. Though I have been able to effectively deal with my problems through seeking help, self-injury has been the hardest thing for me to give up in my journey to recovery.

Often times, seeking treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder can also help greatly with the symptom of self-injury, and recovery is possible through the help of therapy (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT is often beneficial for people with BPD) and in some cases, medication for other underlying conditions; like depression or anxiety. Hope and healing from Borderline Personality Disorder and self-injury does exist, and is available, as long as you're committed to making it work.

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APA Reference
Stewart, C. (2012, September 28). Self-Injury and Borderline Personality Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 15 from

Author: Christie Stewart

July, 16 2013 at 6:46 am

I also have been and agree with my diagnosis of BPD. I also self-injured for about 20+ years. I no longer am constantly trying to control my urges. I have not self-injured since 2009. Also, for about a year or so, I don't have those thoughts unless I am under stress. I may think about it, but realize that this is a clue that I need to make a change in my life.

Sara Catron
October, 8 2012 at 11:13 pm

I feel much better now!!

October, 1 2012 at 12:04 pm

I was diagnosed with BPD back in 2003-2004 and only found out by being able to read the gp copy of the letter upside down during an appointment. I was able to read up on it and get a second opinion that actually went in my favour. Finding out the diagnosis in the way I did was harmful to begin with but I am glad I found out as I was able to ask for a second opinion, get it turned around and work on myself.

September, 28 2012 at 8:49 am

Very well written. I was diagnosed with BPD a few years ago, but have been told since that it may be a part of my PTSD

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