Borderline personality disorder is a very serious, yet rare, mental health issue believed to affect around 1.6 percent of the adult U.S. population. The illness is marked by an inability to effectively manage emotions, but is historically hard to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. Here are some of the most common symptoms of the condition.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), BPD is marked by a lifetime pattern of intense mood swings, and instability in behavior, self-image, and functioning. It was officially recognized by the psychiatric community in 1980, and although many mental health experts agree that the label “BPD” may be misleading, a more accurate term does not yet exist. BPD often coincides with other mental health conditions, such as mood, anxiety, and eating disorders, as well as substance abuse, self harm, and even suicide.

Here are some of the most common signs, according to the NIH:

-Constant efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

-A lifetime pattern of intense and unstable relationships, often swinging between extreme closeness to intense hatred

-Impulsive behaviors such as extreme spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, and binge eating

-Recurring suicidal behaviors or self-harming behaviors

-Trouble controlling anger, characterized by extreme periods of rage, depression, or anxiety that may last between a few hours to an entire day

- Severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality

The condition has not been found to be associated with a specific sex or race, and is most likely to begin during adolescence or early adulthood. According to the NIH, factors such as genetics, social environment, such as early exposure to abuse, and brain structure may put some individuals at heightened risk for developing this illness.

Symptom severity can also fluctuate; some with this disorder can be highly functioning while others may struggle to perform everyday tasks. Unfortunately, the condition is also frequently misdiagnosed, which can hinder recovery, according to Treatment is difficult, but usually includes a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

Read More:

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2015, An Update On Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Brain Imaging: Read Here

Bipolar vs. Borderline Personality Disorder: The Differences Between The Two And How To Avoid Misdiagnosis: Read Here