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Keywords:

  • borderline personality disorder;
  • comorbidity;
  • emotion;
  • neuroticism

The goal of this article is to advance understanding of borderline personality disorder (BPD) as an emotional disorder and to use this information as a heuristic for reconceptualizing targeted treatment approaches. The first section reviews evidence that BPD is characterized by the hallmark of emotional disorders, frequent intense negative emotions, and adverse reactions to them. Next, overlap between BPD and other emotional disorders is described, followed by a section delineating how these similarities can be largely accounted for by a shared underlying vulnerability, namely, high levels of neuroticism. Finally, we discuss the treatment implications of this conception of BPD in the context of recent transdiagnostic approaches to emotional disorders.