People who have borderline personality disorder usually have difficulties controlling their impulses and emotions, and it’s hard for them to keep any relationships. They often experience feelings of emptiness, experience quick changes in mood, and sometimes harm themselves. Part of their difficulties is formed by problems in coping with abandonment and a quickly changing view of other people around them. These things make it increasingly hard for people with a borderline personality disorder to go through with any treatment they are offered. And if they can engage, they quickly find it hard to stick with the therapy and leave before the treatment has ended. Some types of psychological treatment, like talk therapies, have emerged in recent years to try and help people with such disorders.
There are a wide variety of treatments for borderline personality disorder. Let’s walk through the treatments that seem to work best and everything there is to know about the available options.
Overview of the borderline personality disorder treatments
Usually, this disorder is treated using a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, during crisis times, patients with borderline personality disorder may call out for brief periods of hospitalization to remain safe and secure. In recent times, self-help instruments have been developed to add to conventional treatments for this disorder.
Types of psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder
Long-term psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is vital for any treatment for borderline personality disorder. Research has shown that few types of psychotherapy are effective in bringing down the symptoms of the disorder, such as:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). The DBT was the first kind of psychotherapy that proved effective for borderline personality disorder people. DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that mostly focuses on how a person’s thoughts and beliefs can lead to their actions and behaviors. During this therapy, people will learn how to cope with distress and learn important skills to manage intense emotions. Mindfulness is considered to be a key component of this approach.
- Schema-focused therapy is an integrative type of psychotherapy that incorporates psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavioral therapy aspects. Schema-focused therapy’s main idea is that unfulfilled needs from a person’s childhood will evoke unhealthy ways of seeing the world. This therapy mostly aimed at confronting these maladaptive behaviors and beliefs and focusing on better thinking and coping with issues.
- Mentalization-based therapy helps borderline personality disorder and may assist with depression and anxiety as well as proper social functioning. This therapy’s main focus is helping the client to recognize their mental states. That includes their own thoughts and feelings and the thoughts and feelings of other people they communicate with. Through recognition, the patient will see how such thoughts impact their behavior or the behavior of people around them.
- According to many studies, transference-focused psychotherapy has been thoroughly studied for borderline personality disorder and can be a match or an even better option than dialectical behavior therapy. This therapy is based on the concept of transference. Transferring feelings and expectations from some earlier relationships n to a person in the present is the main concept in many psychodynamic therapies. Transference-focused psychotherapy uses the client and the therapist’s relationship to see how a client relates to other people. The therapist can then utilize this knowledge to help the client to respond more efficiently in their other relationships.
- Good psychiatric management. This approach to the treatment relies on case management, anchoring therapy in an expectation of work, school, or other participation. It mainly focuses on making sense of a client’s emotionally difficult moments using the interpersonal context. It may incorporate family education, individual therapy, groups, and some types of medications.
Types of medications
Although the FDA has not yet approved any medications for borderline personality disorder, research has shown that some types of medications have the ability to reduce some of the symptoms of this disorder. Medication can be especially effective for BPD when it is used in cooperation with psychotherapy. In such cases, it wouldn’t just help with BPD symptoms but also with co-existing mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.
The list of the most often prescribed medications for BPD includes:
- Antidepressants, which may help with feelings of anxiety and depression.
- Antipsychotics, which were one of the first medications successfully used to treat BPD and can be especially helpful for the most problematic symptoms of BPD, such as paranoid thinking, anger, and impulsivity.
- Anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety medications. Anxiety often goes hand in hand with BPD, which makes some of these medications extra helpful. However, some of these provide some severe side effects due to their inherently addictive potential.
- Mood stabilizer and anticonvulsants. Mood stabilizers can usually help with emotional reactivity and impulsivity.
Of course, the best way to determine which of those medication options is right for you would be to consult with your doctor or psychiatrist. They can help you figure out the best plan of action to get your symptoms under control.
Could there be a need for hospitalization?
Borderline personality disorder can often be associated with extremely intense emotional experiences. That is why sometimes people with BPD could be admitted to a psychiatric hospital to maintain safety. There is also an option for inpatient treatment that requires you to stay overnight in the hospital.
Another potential treatment option is partial hospitalization or day treatment, which are more intensive than conventional outpatient psychotherapy, though they do not require you to stay overnight. You may get in a partial hospital or day program if you are headed toward a potential crisis. Or if you have recently been discharged from inpatient hospitalization and may require a period of more intensive treatment to make sure the crisis will not reemerge in the foreseeable future.
Self Help BPD strategies
Self-help strategies are considered to be an essential part of any treatment program for BPD. A perfect plan includes finding out as much about your disorder through self-help education, learning healthy managing skills for BPD, and learning new ways of expressing and managing your emotions.