Borderline Personality Disorder: What Are The Treatment Options?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex set of symptoms including difficulty regulating thoughts and emotions, reckless and impulsive behavior, and relationships that are often unstable. Onset begins in late adolescence or early adulthood. While the symptoms can be severe or intense, the treatment outcomes appear to be quite positive.

Personality Disorder

There are several possible treatment options for individuals with BPD:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – This treatment was specifically developed to help treat DBT and centers on the idea of mindfulness, being “in the moment” and experiencing emotions in the moment. Through DBT, individuals learn skills to help lessen self-destructive behaviors, manage upset, improve relationships and manage intense emotions. It helps patients balance accepting and changing behaviors. There are three parts to treatment: individual therapy, skill development in group sessions and phone coaching if needed. This is the treatment shown to be most effective for BPD.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This treatment focuses on recognizing and changing thoughts and actions that are ineffective, negative or inaccurate. It helps individuals clarify situations and relationships, and develop more appropriate responses to deal with them. This treatment is especially effective in managing anxiety and mood symptoms, as well as self-harming behaviors.

  • Other Treatments – There are other, less common, treatments for BPD including Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT), or talk therapy, and Transference Focused Therapy (TFP), which uses the patient/therapist relationship to help individuals understand interpersonal problems and emotions. Although there are no medications to treat BPD, they can be used to treat co-occurring conditions such as impulsivity, anxiety and depression.

  • Self-Care – By practicing good self-care, individuals with BPD can find relief of symptoms such as irritability, mood swings and impulsive behavior. This might look different for each individual, although good sleep habits, a balanced diet, regular exercise and stress management are universally recommended.

When choosing a treatment option, whether it is residential mental health treatment, mental health inpatient treatment centers or outpatient treatment, it is important to make sure that the chosen provider and program are compatible to the individual seeking treatment. There must be a level of trust and mutual respect so the patient to feels comfortable enough to make the necessary changes in thought and behavior. When selecting a behavioral health provider, ask these questions to make an informed decision:

  • What treatment method does the provider use?

  • Who is the provider licensed through?

  • Does the provider offer adequate staff training and education?

  • How many years has the provider been in operation?

  • What is the admissions criteria?

  • What is the anticipated length of stay and treatment?

  • At what level can family get involved in the treatment?

  • Are there support groups in the area for patients, caregivers and family?

  • What are the aftercare options?

The key to successful treatment of BPD lies in education and being proactive. With successful treatment, most patients see a marked reduction in symptoms and they often stay in remission.

Shared by Sovereign Health Group