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Life Expectancy With Borderline Personality Disorder

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

Although Borderline Personality Disorder is not a disease with a mortality rate, several studies indicate that people with BPD live shorter lives on average. Due to the multiple causes discussed in this article, they have a life expectancy of around 15-20 years shorter than people without BPD.

BPD Life Expectancy

Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have a higher risk of premature death. This is not only the case for people with BPD, but any mental health condition will impact someone's health and therefore their life expectancy.

Several studies have found that those with BPD have a shorter life expectancy than those who do not have the disorder. People with BPD live 15-20 years less on average. It does not imply that if you have BPD, you will die sooner. The average life expectancy of people with and without BPD is used in these studies. You can assume that if a 20-year-old commits suicide due to suffering from BPD, the average age reduces dramatically. Suicide is, for this reason, one of the leading causes of a shorter life expectancy than someone without BPD.

The causes for a lower life expectancy for someone with BPD

  • Suicide

  • Alcohol or drug addiction

  • Partaking in higher-risk activities

  • Not working and less exercise

  • Not taking care of oneself

  • Stress

  • Medication


BPD is linked to extremely distressing negative emotional experiences. These experiences are so painful that many people with BPD describe that they want to find a way to escape. In a time of extreme emotional pain, someone with BPD may engage in suicide behavior without fully considering the consequences. In this scenario, someone's ability to cope with life events and emotional instability is crucial. To cope with a strong sense of mental emptiness, they frequently engage in self-harm or suicidal behavior.

Suicidal behaviors and completed suicides are common in people with borderline personality disorder (BPD). According to studies, around 75% of persons with BPD will try suicide at least once in their lives, and many will attempt multiple times. Suicidal tendencies will remain a problem for someone with BPD, whether or not they receive treatment.

Worth mentioning is that research has demonstrated that impulsive behaviors such as suicide attempts are more common in younger people with BPD than in those who are older.

Alcohol or drug addiction

Those with BPD, like people with other mental health illnesses, especially personality disorders, may turn to substance use as a coping mechanism. People with BPD who are afraid of being abandoned are more prone to seek relief from their suffering through drugs or alcohol.

The relationship between BPD and addiction is unstable. When borderline personality disorder and addiction coexist, the consequences of both are amplified. When these Conditions co-exist within an individual, symptoms might worsen, such as impulsive and destructive behaviors, mood swings, depression, and a lack of care for safety and health.

People who take substances to cope often feel worse afterward since their circumstances have not changed. Despite this, people's use of substances tends to persist as they seek temporary relief. This is when the addictive cycle begins.

Alcohol and drug abuse can have major consequences for one's physical health, especially if used frequently and for a long time, and it can drastically reduce one's life expectancy.

Partaking in higher-risk activities

BPD is linked to impulsivity, or a desire to act without considering the consequences. They are more likely to engage in impulsive or risky behaviors, such as gambling, shoplifting, reckless driving, Unprotected sex, and abusing drugs or alcohol. These are factors that can shorten someone's life.

Not working and lack of personal care

People with BPD are well-known for having difficulty pushing themselves to work and have no interest in taking care of themselves. As a result, some individuals with BPD sit at home, do not exercise, consume more junk food or no food at all, and in some cases can't afford a roof over their head. Not having the ability to get yourself to work can add a significant amount of stress. This combination leads to an unhealthy lifestyle.


It's no surprise that stress lowers life expectancy. Someone with BPD experiences a lot of stress due to, among other things, not being able to regulate emotions.


Studies have shown that about 50% of those with borderline personality disorder have a history of prescription drug use.

I am not saying that you should reject your prescribed medication. It's generally advisable to stick to your doctor's recommendations. But according to studies, anti-depression can increase the likelihood of a stroke or heart attack.

Final Thoughts

Getting someone with BPD to therapy may go against their instincts since they have difficulty trusting others and building relationships. It's important to remember that when substances are mixed with borderline personality disorder, the symptoms and consequences can get worse. Addiction is a progressive condition, which means the longer you wait for help, the harder it will be to recover.

BPD creates intense emotional pain, making you feel completely alone and as if you'll never get better. Remember that there are people who understand BPD and wish to assist you. Treatment can make a big difference in your life. If you feel suicidal, talk to the ones around you and get help. You are not alone.


Where on earth are yiur sources? You can't write an article like this and not include sources


Mark Tyrrell
Mark Tyrrell
Nov 03, 2023

I have been diagnosed with BPD and a male in my early fifties. I try my best to keep myself active. I go for short walks during the afternoon. I have no job and no relationship. I live with my closest family. I do indulge in comfort eating and weigh around 15 stone at 5ft 8ins. I had been bullied at school back in the 1980's decade, and have had issues with abuse from other people in the past. None of which is my fault. I found even the mental health services a bit patronizing in my youth. I do regard myself as a loner and find it very difficult in making friends.


How do I overcome this? Everything I read seems like the odds are against me but I have a family that needs me. is there any hope?

David Moss
David Moss
Dec 26, 2023
Replying to

No there is not all that people tell you about it getting better is wrong. I was diagnosed when i Was 24 I am male and now I am 50 and I have children and a home and a part time job. I have been through every treatment plan and have been on lamotrigine on the highest dose since I was 27. I am afraid if you have this and I am not doubting you don’t I am sorry all we can do is Survive if we are lucky. You made it this far You can keep going I understand the pain to well.

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