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Guide to the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Test

Guide to the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Test

Updated November 10, 2023

If you are curious about whether you or a loved one have traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, you may choose to take a BPD test free of charge online.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder

Also known as Emotional Dysregulation Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects the way you think and feel about yourself and other people.

It can cause issues with self-image and confidence, and so people with the condition can have problems functioning in day-to-day life.

The symptoms of BPD can be grouped into four main areas:

  • Emotional instability
  • Disturbed patterns of thinking or perception
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Intense but unstable relationships with other people

Personality disorder symptoms can range from mild to severe, which we will explore below.

It is important to seek medical support if you are concerned about symptoms of BPD.

While living with the condition can be challenging, establishing the right treatment plan can help you or a loved one manage the symptoms and lead a happy life.

The first step in treating Borderline Personality Disorder is getting an accurate diagnosis.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, you should see your GP. If they suspect BPD, your doctor can refer you to mental health specialists.

The process of diagnosing BPD includes an assessment, which is typically carried out by a specialist in personality disorders, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

What Is a Borderline Personality Disorder Test?

A Borderline Personality Disorder Test is a brief online assessment designed for anyone who thinks they may have symptoms of BPD.

It can help put the condition into context by explaining the symptoms and how they display in everyday life.

Doing a borderline personality test online can help you understand your own relationship with the condition. If the Borderline Personality Disorder screening test suggests you may have BPD, you can use the results to form a conversation with your doctor.

Online BPD screening tests are not for diagnostic purposes. As such, they should not replace medical advice and treatment.

What an online borderline personality test can do is check whether you meet any of the criteria for a BPD diagnosis.

As well as attending a Borderline Personality Disorder NHS test appointment, the diagnosis of BPD consists of ruling out other mental health conditions such as bipolar, depression and anxiety disorders.

For this reason, taking a BPD test online is not enough to diagnose the condition.

Can the Results of a Borderline Personality Disorder Test Be Trusted or Accurate?

As long as you answer each question truthfully, the BPD spectrum test should produce an accurate analysis of your responses.

If you are concerned that you are experiencing symptoms of BPD, taking an online borderline personality questionnaire can help you track your moods and feelings.

However, as we have mentioned, online BPD screening tests are not capable of diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder.

An accurate BPD diagnosis can only be given by a medical professional who specialises in mental health, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Those taking the test should take the test, get the results and then seek medical support with a doctor or mental health professional.

4 Types of BPD

American personality disorder specialist Theodore Millon theorised that Borderline Personality Disorder can be split into four types.

When taking a test one of the four types of BPD may reveal themselves.

The four BPD subtypes that Theodore Millon wrote about are:

Discouraged Borderline (Quiet BPD)

Also known as Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder, this type combines both avoidance and dependence on other people.

People with a Discouraged Borderline disorder tend to fear abandonment and define themselves by their relationships.

The end of close relationships can make them feel insecure, helpless and uncertain about the future.

People with the Discouraged Borderline type of BPD are likely to show the following traits:

  • Hopelessness
  • Depression
  • Loyalty
  • Vulnerability

Petulant Borderline

A Petulant Borderline personality tends to be passive-aggressive, negative and impatient. People with this type can be jealous of other people’s joy and resent being dependent on them.

People with Petulant Borderline BPD are often adults who did not get their needs met as children.

They may have experienced neglect or abuse growing up. This can lead them to become overwhelmed with hatred and violence which they may take out on others.

Those with the Petulant Borderline type of BPD are likely to show the following traits:

  • Pessimism
  • Stubbornness
  • Rebelliousness
  • Cynicism

Impulsive Borderline

People with the Impulsive Borderline type of BPD can be energetic and antisocial.

They frequently lack focus and act without thinking.

Due to a lack of self-awareness, their actions may cause harm to themselves or others.

People of the Impulsive Borderline type can become easily upset and irritable and tend to come from chaotic households.

People with the Impulsive Borderline type of BPD are likely to show the following traits:

  • Easily irritated
  • Fearful
  • Unreliable
  • Easily distracted

Self-Destructive Borderline Personality Disorder

Self-Destructive BPD is characterised by a moody, angry personality type.

People with Self-Destructive BPD simultaneously crave and fear independence. This can cause significant internal tension.

This type of BPD can cause people to feel resentful and bitter towards others.

They may feel increased sadness and stress which presents in dangerous activities that could cause harm.

Those with Self-Destructive BPD are likely to show the following traits:

  • Overly compliant
  • Internal anger
  • Submissive
  • Extreme sadness

If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of any type of Borderline Personality Disorder it is vital you seek medical help.

A mental health professional can help you manage your symptoms and lead a comfortable life.

Example Questions on the BPD Test Online

Online Borderline Personality Disorder screening tests are loosely based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria.

DSM-5 is the standardised resource used by healthcare providers to diagnose mental health disorders.

BPD can be diagnosed by a mental health professional if five of the nine criteria are met.

While Borderline Personality Disorder can only be diagnosed by a mental health specialist, online tests can help you check your feelings and experiences against BPD symptoms.

You can use these example questions to learn more about how Borderline Personality manifests.

If you answer ‘yes’ to a few of these questions, consider speaking with your doctor who may refer you for an NHS Borderline Personality Disorder test.

1. Do You Have Frequent Fears of Being Left or Abandoned?

This question is designed to assess whether you have fears of being abandoned – whether those fears are real or imagined.

You may answer yes to this question if you start relationships quickly, but also end them quickly to avoid the possibility of being left by your partner.

2. Have You Had Several Intense, Unstable Relationships?

Someone with BPD can tend to enter chaotic relationships.

They may use a defence mechanism called ‘splitting’. This means they see people and things as either all good or all bad. There is no in-between, meaning people with BPD can be ‘all or nothing’.

When it comes to relationships, they may alternate between idealising and devaluing people and situations.

  • Idealising – Accrediting people with overly positive qualities
  • Devaluing – Perceiving someone as completely flawed or as possessing very negative qualities

3. Are You Impulsive in Ways That Could Cause You Harm?

Being impulsive isn’t always harmful, but doing certain things without thinking can be potentially damaging.

Examples of impulsive behavior include:

  • Driving recklessly
  • Spending lots of money
  • Getting into physical fights
  • Shoplifting

4. Have You Intentionally Hurt Yourself or Had Thoughts of Suicide?

Symptoms of BPD can cause instances of suicidal thoughts or behavior. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, seek emergency help straight away.

5. Do You Often Lose Your Temper?

You may have difficulty controlling anger and feelings of rage if you have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Anger can be triggered by other symptoms of BPD, such as rejection and abandonment.

What Should I Do After Taking the BPD Test Online?

If you answer ‘yes’ to a few of these example questions, you should consider making an appointment with your doctor.

They can refer you to a mental health specialist who can help you manage your symptoms.

It is especially important to speak with a medical professional if these symptoms are causing you distress and having a negative impact on your life.

It is important to remember that the results of this test are not as accurate as BPD test NHS results.

Borderline Personality Disorder can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional, following consultation, a BPD diagnosis test and full assessment of your symptoms.

Symptoms of BPD

The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder are wide-ranging, but they broadly come under four main areas.

They are:

  • Emotional instability
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Disturbed patterns of thinking or perception
  • Intense yet unstable relationships with others

Emotional Instability

This group of symptoms is also known as 'affective dysregulation'.

Having Borderline Personality Disorder can cause you to experience a range of intense and negative emotions such as:

  • Rage
  • Sadness
  • Panic
  • Terror
  • Shame
  • Loneliness
  • Emptiness

Feelings of emotional instability can present as severe mood swings that change rapidly in a short space of time.

These feelings can also cause people with Borderline Personality Disorder to have extreme emotions that range from very happy to very sad.

Some people may experience different moods in the morning and at night.

Impulsive Behavior

People with Borderline Personality Disorder may experience two main types of impulsive behavior.

  • An impulse to self-harm – This strong impulse can result in harming your body, with intense impulses potentially leading to attempted suicide.
  • An impulse to engage in reckless and irresponsible activity – Borderline Personality Disorder can create an impulse to behave irresponsibly in a way that harms yourself, such as binge drinking or substance abuse, gambling or going on an excessive shopping spree.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Test: Examples/Tips/Guide
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Test: Examples/Tips/Guide

Disturbed Patterns of Thinking or Perception

People with Borderline Personality Disorder can experience different types of thoughts such as:

  • Upsetting thoughts – These may cause you to think you are a bad person. They can make you feel uneasy and you may seek reassurance that they are not true.
  • Brief episodes of strange experiences – You may feel that you can hear voices. They may feel like instructions to harm yourself or other people. When hearing these voices, you may be uncertain if they are real or not.
  • Longer episodes of abnormal experiences – As well as brief, strange experiences, you may have prolonged episodes of abnormal happenings such as hallucinations and distressing beliefs.

These experiences can be extremely unsettling. It is important to get medical help if you have feelings of hallucinations and distressing beliefs that may cause harm to yourself and others.

Intense Yet Unstable Relationships

As one of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder is fear of abandonment, people with the condition can be prone to having intense but unstable relationships.

You may also feel that people become too close to the point of smothering you, which provokes feelings of anger and fear.

This may cause you to withdraw or reject those around you.

The two patterns of fearing abandonment and also feeling smothered can create ‘love-hate’ relationships with certain people.

To be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, an individual will need to display at least five of the following nine symptoms:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, whether there is real or imagined risk of abandonment
  • Unstable/intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation
  • Challenges with identity, quickly changing self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsive self-damaging behaviors such as spending, sex, substance use, reckless driving or binge eating
  • Recurrent suicidal or self-harm thoughts/behaviors
  • Emotional instability and quickly changing moods (for example, intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Extreme anger or find it challenging to control anger
  • Stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

Personality disorders tend to be diagnosed when someone is 18 years or older, even if they’ve had symptoms throughout their childhood and teenage years.

Those under 18 need to have demonstrated the behaviors for more than a year.

Causes of BPD

There is no one single cause of Borderline Personality Disorder. It is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic, social and environmental factors, which we will explore below.


Borderline Personality Disorder seems to have a strong genetic element and can tend to run in families. The likelihood of developing BPD is higher if a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, also has the condition.

There seems to be a similar number of males and females with BPD, with young people more likely to experience symptoms than older adults.

Some research has suggested that Borderline Personality Disorder may be inherited, but there is no solid evidence of a BPD gene.

BPD in the Brain

There have been studies that suggested people with BPD have certain brain differences.

It is thought that there may be differences in the volume of the following parts of the brain:

  • Hippocampus
  • Medial temporal lobes
  • Amygdala

These parts of the brain are important for managing stress and emotions, which explains why this may be tricky for people with BPD.

Research has shown that individuals with BPD have a higher level of stress hormone cortisol.

While this hormone is in the brain, higher levels can be caused by external factors such as childhood trauma and a difficult home life.

Environmental Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder

Difficult and traumatic life experiences can play a key role in causing Borderline Personality Disorder. This can be child abuse, neglect or any adverse experience that causes long-term distress.

Environmental factors such as neglect and abuse seem to be common among people with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Treatment of BPD

Experiencing symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder can be scary and uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there is treatment available.

With time, many people with BPD overcome their symptoms and make a recovery from the condition. If symptoms return, additional treatment is available.

There are several different treatment options that we will cover in this section.


Psychotherapy is a common treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and can encompass lots of different types.

This treatment is designed to help you better understand how you think and feel, which in turn can help you change your attitudes and behavior.

Psychotherapy for Borderline Personality Disorder will be delivered by a trained professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health specialist.

The types of psychotherapy include:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – DBT introduces the two concepts of validating your emotions and accepting that things in life are rarely black and white. This encourages you to be open to ideas that contradict your own. DBT teaches self-awareness, emotional regulation and healthy relationship skills.

  • Arts therapies – These may include art therapy, dance movement therapy, music therapy and drama therapy. They can be useful for people who are struggling to verbally express their thoughts and feelings.

  • Mentalisation-based therapy (MBT) – MBT is a long-term psychotherapy that helps people with BPD examine their own thoughts and beliefs. It helps people to recognise ways of thinking and ‘step back’ to examine if they are valid.

Care Programme Approach (CPA)

A care programme approach is usually used with people experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.

A CPA ensures that you are receiving the treatment you need. It consists of four stages:

  • An assessment of your health, wellbing and social requirements
  • A care plan created to meet your needs
  • The appointment of a care keyworker who will be your first point of contact
  • Reviews where your treatment is assessed and any changes to the care plan are agreed


There is currently no medicine licensed to treat BPD, but there are medications you can take if you also suffer from another co-occurring mental health condition such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.

Psychiatrists will sometimes prescribe mood stabilisers or antipsychotics to help treat Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms such as mood swings and impulsive behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

The online BPD test is designed to allow you to compare your experiences to the kind of symptoms that are most associated with Borderline Personality Disorder.

The condition can only be diagnosed by a mental health specialist following a consultation with your doctor.

You can take a Borderline Personality Disorder test online, but these do not claim to be accurate and cannot diagnose BPD.

Online BPD tests are available for free.

When taking a BPD test online, you should choose one from a psychology website that has been reviewed by a medical professional.

There is no rule against diagnosing BPD under the age of 18, but many medical professionals would hesitate to do so until the individual has reached adulthood.

Those under 18 need to have demonstrated the behaviors for more than a year.

You may wish to take a BPD test online if you are experiencing symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.

It is not capable of giving a diagnosis, and so you should speak with your doctor if you are concerned about your symptoms.

You should not cheat on the BPD test as this will produce inaccurate results.

You can retake a Borderline Personality Disorder test, but you should ensure you still answer honestly to avoid skewing the result.

The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder can be grouped into four main areas: emotional instability, disturbed patterns of thinking or perception, impulsive behavior and intense but unstable relationships with other people.

You can take an online BPD test yourself, but the condition can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional.

The results from a BPD test will tell you if you seem to be experiencing the symptoms commonly associated with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Final Thoughts

The BPD test is a test to assess whether there is a chance that a patient is suffering from BPD.

The test should be used as an indicator, not a diagnosis.

It is important for patients to answer all questions carefully and honestly to get the best results.

If you are concerned about the results, you should seek medical support for a proper diagnosis after taking the test.

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