The Symptoms and Causes of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD)

Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), also known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), is a distressing condition that commonly occurs in both men and women, however, more women are diagnosed with EUPD than men. Sadly, EUPD is often a stigmatised condition that is left undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

The symptoms of EUPD are characterised by difficulties in managing confusing and overwhelming emotions which predisposes to thoughts of self harm and the use of alcohol and other substances, often intense and polarised relationships, deep fears of being abandoned by others, impulsive behaviours, difficulty maintaining relationships and work continuity, and a confusing sense of self.

The most likely causes of EUPD are…

Inherited Genetics
Although there is no evidence of a gene for EUPD, genes inherited from parents could make you more vulnerable to developing EUPD.

Issues with Brain Chemicals
Serotonin is a brain chemical, also known as a neurotransmitter, that helps to determine personality and general traits. Serotonin levels in the brain affect mood, anxiety and happiness.

Low levels of Serotonin have been linked to depression, overwhelming emotions and aggression, which can lead to impulsive behaviour and the urge to lash out.

Brain Development Problems
Researchers using MRI scans to study the brains of those with EUPD, discovered that 3 parts of the brain were smaller than average or had unexpected levels of activity – the amygdala which regulates emotions, the hippocampus which regulates behaviour and self-control, and the orbitofrontal cortex which is used for planning and decision making. These 3 parts of the brain are also responsible for mood regulation. These brain abnormalities are caused by reduced development during early upbringing.

Traumatic Life Events
Those that have been diagnosed with EUPD are likely to have suffered traumatic experiences during their childhood. Environmental factors such as being neglected by parents, experiencing chronic fear or distress, or losing a parent seem to be common amongst those with EUPD.

Some people with EUPD have undiagnosed ADHD, which can complicate their symptoms. Other people with EUPD can develop eating disorders in order to help manage their overwhelming and confusing emotions. It is thought that there is a relationship between some patients with EUPD and bipolar spectrum disorders and as such the mood stabiliser, Lamotrigine, can be helpful in some cases.

Therapies such as Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) can be very helpful, with a focus on distress tolerance, emotional regulation, mindfulness and interpersonal effectiveness.

For more information on Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), visit the following links:

To book an assessment for EUPD, call 0207 299 0375, or fill in our online appointment request form.