Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC
There was a time when no one outside the mental health profession talked much about borderline personality disorder. In recent years, mental health has become a hot topic. The media have been covering a wide range of mental health issues, including borderline personality disorder. With more information out there in books, blogs, movies, and news stories, you may even have asked yourself, "Do I have a borderline personality disorder?"
"Do I Have BPD?"
When you begin to hear about a mental disorder's symptoms, it's natural to question your mental health. This even happens to medical students. You may have heard of a problem called Medical Students' Syndrome, in which medical students develop symptoms of the illness they're studying. In one study of this syndrome, 30% of the medical students who participated had medical complaints about the diseases they were studying.
So, if you're concerned that what you hear about borderline personality disorder applies to you, you're not alone. There may be hundreds of psychology students asking themselves the same questions right now! For those students as well as for you, it's always best not to jump to conclusions. Instead, you might consider taking a screening test to get a more accurate, objective assessment.
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder Screening?
Dictionary.com defines a screening test as "a simple test performed on a large number of people to identify those who have or are likely to develop a specified disease."
Screening tests for mental disorders are usually either a pencil-and-paper test or computer-based test. You might do the test in a therapist's office or complete an online test very quickly from wherever you are.
The results of a screening test do not add up to a diagnosis of BPD. For that, your therapist would need to interview you and compare your responses to the DSM-5 criteria for borderline personality disorder. A screening test for BPD can let you know if you need to further explore the possibility.
Symptoms A BPD Test Identifies
The primary purpose of a screening test is to catch common signs of the disorder. While each BPD screening test might be different, they should all cover symptoms like the following:
- Mood swings
- Uncertainty about yourself and your place in the world
- Viewing things in extremes
- Rapidly changing opinions about others
- Unstable relationships
- Intense relationships
- Extreme efforts to avoid abandonment
- Distorted self-image
- Impulsive or risky behaviors
- Self-harming behaviors
- Thoughts of suicide
- Intense moods that last anywhere from hours to days
- Feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate anger or problems managing angry feelings
- Difficulty trusting others
- Feeling cut off from yourself or feelings of unreality
Types of Questions on a Personality Disorder Test
The items on a BPD quiz are usually simple yes-or-no questions. They're based on the symptoms above, describing these types of situations as well as your emotional and behavioral reactions. All you have to do is choose "yes" or "no," on an online platform, and it will tally up your score automatically. It then gives you the results, telling you whether you might have a borderline personality disorder. If you've answered questions on a pencil-and-paper test, your therapist will probably be the one to add up your score.
How A Borderline Personality Disorder QuizCan Help
A personality disorder test has several implications for your mental wellbeing. It can help you emotionally and in practical ways, too. The following are seven ways you might benefit from taking such a test.
- Gives You A Quick Preliminary Answer
Because these tests take so little time to take, they may satisfy your desire for a quick answer to the question of "Am I experiencing borderline personality disorder symptoms?" If your results show you have nothing to worry about, you can go on with life as usual. If they indicate that you have some signs of the disorder, you can start thinking about addressing the problem immediately.
- Eases Your Mind
Worrying about your mental health can be emotionally exhausting. The inner turmoil can be extreme as you try to figure out whether you really have signs of the disorder or are blowing things out of proportion.
A simple quiz can ease that struggle. You may feel more confident about your mental health if the test shows you don't have signs of BPD. If the test shows you have BPD signs, you may feel calmer about taking steps to ease those symptoms.
- Helps You Face the Possibility of Mental Disorders
It's natural to want to see yourself as someone with good mental health. So, for many people, the idea they might have a mental disorder is upsetting. If someone has concerns about you having borderline personality disorder, taking a screening test can help you determine if this may be a possibility. Accepting that possibility is the first step to finding out what other actions can be taken. That first glimpse of your test results may be the first step to improving your mental health.
4.Identifies Your Problem
Sometimes, people have a strong feeling that they have a mental health problem, but they don't know what it is. Even if they know the symptoms to watch for, a layperson might find it challenging to sort out one mental disorder's symptoms from another.
Imagine that the results of the test say your issues don’t match symptoms of BPD. If you still sense that something is going on, talking to a therapist may be the next stop, and you can discuss the online inventory you did with the therapist to help find a good starting point. Finding that many signs indicate you may be experiencing BPD can be a good starting point for discussing your experiences with your therapist or doctor.
- Estimates the Severity of Your Condition
A short quiz won't tell you exactly how severe your problems with borderline personality are. Still, the more symptoms you say "yes" to, the more your BPD is probably affecting your behavior, feelings, and relationships. It may not be a definitive answer about the severity of your problems, but it can provide a rough estimate of their extent.
5.Gives You Clues About What to Discuss with a Therapist
Maybe you didn't know much about borderline personality disorder before you took the test. If so, you can easily pick up information in the test to discover what kinds of issues are significant. If a specific question rings true, you don't have to be an expert to realize that it's worth exploring. The fact that it's included in the test may be enough motivation. Then, you can bring it to your therapist's attention during counseling for BPD.
But what if you already know a lot about this disorder? Do you really need a repeat of that information? You might. For one thing, the test might describe a symptom in a way you've never understood it before. Also, even if you have learned quite a lot about BPD, there may be symptoms you've never heard as you read about the disorder.
- Provides an Objective Answer
As the person who is questioning their mental health, you have a stake in the results. If a loved one suggests you have a problem; they may have their own interests to consider. So, relying on your own or a loved one's assessment of your condition isn’t completely objective.
A test doesn't care what the results are. It doesn't base its results on whether you or a loved one does or doesn't want you to find out you have BPD. It gives an objective result that's based on psychology and how it applies to your specific answers. Validating the results with a therapist or your mental health provider is the next step in making sure a full evaluation of what your experiencing takes place.
- Prepares You for the Next Step
The best thing about a BPD quiz is that it gets you ready for action. With the knowledge that you have symptoms of borderline personality, you can prepare to deal with it. You can find a therapist, set up an appointment, and maybe even start writing down the symptoms you want to discuss.
If you don't have signs of borderline personality disorder, you can decide to do more research, take different mental disorders tests, or ask a therapist what else your problem might be. But if the test is enough to ease your worries, you can still make a commitment to yourself. For example, you could decide to look for ways to improve your mental health, like taking care of your body or learning coping skills.
No matter what results you get, a borderline personality disorder test may help you make some choices about steps that lead you toward a healthy life. Either through treatment or by learning to handle and enjoy your life better, you can move on to a stable, fulfilling, and happier life.