At one time, borderline personality disorder (BPD) was considered an untreatable form of mental illness, but fortunately now there are options that can help those with this condition experience reduced symptoms and an improved quality of life. A BPD treatment plan needs to be flexible and adapted to the needs of each individual patient.
Psychotherapy is a fundamental part of a BPD treatment plan, and your doctor will recommend the form of therapy best suited for your individual needs. Medication may be recommended for co-occurring conditions such as depression or anxiety. A treatment plan for BPD may also include peer and family support.
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Types of Psychotherapy Used in a BPD Treatment Plan
Learning to address the intense emotional responses that are characteristic of BPD is usually done with the help of psychotherapy. Some types of therapy that may be included in a BPD treatment plan include:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – This form of therapy was originally developed specifically to treat BPD and has been shown to be effective in reducing treatment dropout and suicidal urges. Using both group and individual sessions, DBT can help you learn to tolerate distress, manage emotions and change ineffective thoughts and beliefs.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This type of therapy can help you recognize negative thought patterns and behaviors. These may include inaccurate core beliefs and distorted perceptions of self and others.
- Schema-focused therapy – Using role-playing, guided imagery and assertiveness training, this type of therapy may help you to shed life views that aren’t working and learn healthier ways of getting your needs met.
- Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) – This form of therapy may help you develop empathy for other people’s feelings and learn to think before reacting.
Your treatment plan may involve including family members in therapy sessions. In some cases, family members unintentionally act in ways that worsen the symptoms of an individual with BPD. Family therapy can help all members of the family have a better understanding of BPD and learn to interact in a more effective and supportive way.
Treatment of Co-Occurring Conditions
Many people with BPD also have other co-occurring conditions such as anxiety, depression or substance use disorder. The symptoms of the co-occurring condition may be more noticeable and may lead medical professionals to miss the diagnosis of a personality disorder.
There aren’t any medications specifically intended to treat BPD. Medications may be prescribed for co-occurring disorders and to help manage specific symptoms such as depression, anxiety or aggressiveness.
A treatment plan for BPD takes into consideration the severity of symptoms, particularly if there are suicidal tendencies. Symptoms of BPD are sometimes dangerous such as recurring self-harming behavior, impulsive and risky behavior or suicidal tendencies. Inpatient treatment may be recommended to provide intensive critical support while working toward stabilization.
Partial hospitalization or day treatment are more intensive than outpatient treatment but don’t require you to stay in a residential setting. This type of treatment may be appropriate if you’ve just been discharged from an inpatient treatment facility or if you may be heading toward a crisis.
Any BPD treatment plan aims to reduce severity of symptoms. This includes learning to manage uncomfortable emotions and observing feelings rather than acting on them. You’ll gradually learn new coping skills and become more aware of your own feelings and the feelings of others, which may help improve your relationships.
It takes time to learn to manage your thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. If you have BPD and remain committed to a comprehensive treatment plan, treatment can improve your ability to function and a good long-term outcome is possible.
If you or a loved one are struggling with a borderline personality or another mental health disorder, please contact us at (855) 409-0204 or submit the form below and a treatment specialist will contact you.