What Does Recovery from BPD Look Like?
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that impacts your feelings, thoughts, and relationships. The symptoms of this condition can be overwhelming and painful and can cause problems in many areas of your life, from your relationships to your ability to hold a job to your self-image. You may be very sensitive to things others say and do, which may trigger intense emotional reactions and acting out. The intensity of your symptoms may lead to self-destructive behavior and sometimes even suicidal tendencies.
At one time, BPD was considered difficult to treat. The good news is that newer approaches to treating this condition can help you to manage your symptoms and give you the ability to have a much better quality of life.
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The symptoms of BPD can vary in severity from one person to another and are sometimes accompanied by other mental health conditions. Your treatment program will most likely include a combination of the following:
- Psychotherapy – Talk therapy is usually considered the cornerstone of BPD treatment. There are several types of psychotherapy that can be effective in treating this condition, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and mentalization based therapy. Using different approaches, you can grow in awareness of your thoughts, feelings and reactions to others while learning new coping skills and new ways of thinking.
- Medication – BPD isn’t usually treated with medication, but medication may be prescribed to relieve some of the symptoms that accompany this condition, such as anxiety and depression.
- Treatment for co-occurring disorders – People with BPD sometimes struggle with co-occurring disorders such as substance use disorder, eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other mental illnesses. For anyone who has a co-occurring disorder, effective treatment depends on treating both BPD and any other conditions that may occur at the same time.
Techniques that reduce stress can also help to improve symptoms of BPD. Activities such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, art therapy and music therapy can help you to stay focused and calm your emotions.
Learning New Skills for A Better Quality of Life
As you learn how to deal with stormy emotions and regain control over your emotions, you’ll begin to enjoy a better quality of life. Instead of engaging in self-destructive behaviors when you are struggling, recovery gives you the skills to experience difficult emotions without losing control of yourself as often or as intensely.
You’ll be able to practice new skills in your relationships, including those with friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. You’ll work on your communication skills, which includes trying not to mindread about the intentions of others.
Ongoing Recovery and Committing to the Recovery Process
Recovery from BPD depends on breaking patterns of feeling, thinking and behaving. Learning to pause before reacting requires time and practice, but when you’re committed to recovery, you can gradually learn to tolerate distress and reduce impulsive behavior. With treatment, your symptoms will improve, but they may still surface from time to time. Learn all you can about BPD and work with your mental health provider to have a plan for what you should do the next time you have an outburst or crisis.
Your treatment plan is created with your unique situation in mind, which means treating BPD as well as any co-occurring disorders. Take charge of your own mental health by sticking to your treatment plan. Go to your appointments and support groups, and let your therapist know whenever you’re experiencing symptoms. When you stay committed to the recovery process, you give yourself the best possible chance at experiencing a good, long-term outcome.
Life After DBT
Treatment with DBT was the first form of psychotherapy shown to be effective in treating BPD, and it’s one of the most effective ways of recovering from the condition. Completing the full skills curriculum in standard DBT usually takes 24 weeks, which is often repeated for a one-year treatment program.
After treatment with DBT, the ability to effectively regulate emotions and use healthy behaviors rather than turning to self-destructive or self-harming behaviors is greatly improved. Learned strategies allow the experience, expression, and regulation of intense emotions, while the improvement of skills in interpersonal relationships can greatly improve the ability to have healthy relationships.
Treatment with DBT makes it possible to lead a life in which you’re not controlled by volatile emotions. While BPD can’t be cured, it can be effectively managed, leading to greatly reduced symptoms and a much improved quality of life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), please contact us at (855) 409-0204 or submit the form below and a BPD treatment specialist will contact you.
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Since 2004, Lori has worked with the behavioral health treatment community to bring awareness about mental health disorders and evidence-based treatments. Lori strives to help people better understand mental illness and provide support to those needing help and their families. As a mental health advocate, Lori works to be a voice for those suffering from borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other disorder.