Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria

The formal diagnosis of borderline personality disorder rests on these symptoms, which can be evaluated by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals.

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms According to the ICD-10

The following information is reproduced verbatim from the ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1992. (Since the WHO updates the overall ICD on a regular basis, individual classifications within it may or may not change from year to year; therefore, you should always check directly with the WHO to be sure of obtaining the latest revision for any particular individual classification.)

F60.3 Emotionally Unstable (Borderline) Personality Disorder

A personality disorder in which there is a marked tendency to act impulsively without consideration of the consequences, together with affective instability. The ability to plan ahead may be minimal, and outbursts of intense anger may often lead to violence or “behavioural explosions”; these are easily precipitated when impulsive acts are criticized or thwarted by others. Two variants of this personality disorder are specified, and both share this general theme of impulsiveness and lack of self-control.

Impulsive type: The predominant characteristics are emotional instability and lack of impulse control. Outbursts of violence or threatening behaviour are common, particularly in response to criticism by others.

Includes:

  • explosive and aggressive personality (disorder)

Excludes:

  • dissocial personality disorder

Try Online Counseling: Get Personally Matched
(Please read our important explanation below.)


Borderline type: Several of the characteristics of emotional instability are present; in addition, the patient’s own self-image, aims, and internal preferences (including sexual) are often unclear or disturbed. There are usually chronic feelings of emptiness. A liability to become involved in intense and unstable relationships may cause repeated emotional crises and may be associated with excessive efforts to avoid abandonment and a series of suicidal threats or acts of self-harm (although these may occur without obvious precipitants).

Includes:

  • borderline personality (disorder)

Diagnostic Guidelines

Please see the separate set of notes which apply to all personality disorders in the ICD-10 system of classification: ICD Notes Common to the Diagnostic Criteria for Each Personality Disorder.

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. Please seek professional advice if you are experiencing any mental health concern.

Copyright © 2002-2021. All Rights Reserved.