There is no complete cure for borderline personality disorder. But with the right treatment approach, you can achieve a comfortable level of recovery and remission.
Treatment for BPD mainly consists of psychotherapy but medications may be added. Hospitalization is suitable for the sake of safety at risk. Treatment helps the patient to learn skills to manage and cope with the condition. With treatment, the patient can feel better about himself and live a more stable, rewarding life.
Borderline Personality Disorder Treatments
Fortunately, there are many treatments for BPD such as:
- self-help remedies
- support groups
- Alternative treatments like yoga and aromatherapy
At this time, BPD treatments mostly involve a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
Some patients exhibit extreme symptoms of personality disorder. In such situations, BPD patients may require a short period of hospitalization.
Furthermore, you can find self-help tools and support groups that can help you overcome this mental disorder.
Now let us look at some of the proven treatment options for managing borderline personality disorder.
A borderline personality disorder is a mental disorder. Naturally, the best solution to treat BPD is psychotherapy, or “talk therapy.”
Evidence from research shows that psychotherapy works well for calming down most of the symptoms of BPD. It helps the BPD patients in several ways, such as:
- Gives required awareness about this mental disorder
- Assists the patient to manage the emotional outbursts
- Enables the patient to focus on the current ability to function
- Reduces the impulsive behavior through self-awareness and control
- Helps to improve the relationship of the BPD patient with others
A psychiatrist or psychologist will adapt suitable therapies according to the specific conditions of the patient. Here are the types of psychotherapy treatments that work well for BPD:
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
DBT is the most effective psychotherapy for treating borderline personality disorder. It is about teaching and developing the required skills for managing emotional outbursts, relationships, impulsive behavior, and stress.
DBT is a proven psychotherapy method that works well for treating suicidal ideation and mood disorders. It benefits behavioral disorders such as substance abuse and self-harm.
Mentalization-based therapy (MBT)
According to Anthony Bateman, head of psychotherapy at St. Ann’s Hospital, London, ” Patients with BPD show reduced capacities to mentalize which leads to problems with emotional regulation and difficulties in managing impulsivity, especially in the context of interpersonal interactions.”
Mentalizing is a process by which an individual makes sense of other people and external reality. It involves both implicit and explicit thinking in terms of subjective states and mental processes.
MBT is a talk therapy useful for helping the patient to identify his thought and feelings at any given moment. It enables the individual to see an alternative perspective on the current situation.
Mentalization-based therapy develops the ability to think before acting and reduces impulsive behavior.
Schema-focused therapy (SFT)
Schema-focused therapy for borderline personality disorder (BPD) is effective psychotherapy. It helps to identify and change unhealthy ways of thinking.
A disgruntled person carries in his mind hurtful feelings in many areas of his life. SFT can detect the unfulfilled needs that have led an individual into negative life patterns and behavior.
Schema-focused therapy tries to quench unsatisfied needs in a healthy manner and removes the hurt feelings and negativity.
Schema-focused therapy can be done individually or in a group.
Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP)
TFP, also known as psychodynamic psychotherapy, is useful for helping the patient to understand his emotional imbalances and interpersonal relationship issues.
The therapist develops a healthy friendly relationship with the patient in order to correct the relationship problems. The therapist makes the patient self-aware of his shortcomings in relationships. The patient then learns to rectify his behavior in actual situations.
Systems training for emotional predictability and problem-solving (STEPPS)
STEPPS is a 20-week treatment that enables the patient to work in a psycho-educational group. The group members may consist of friends, family members, caretakers, or coworkers.
The psycho-educational group treatment consists of skills training with cognitive-behavioral techniques. STEPPS treatment system also trains family members, friends, coworkers, and significant others on managing a healthy relationship with BPD patients.
Are Medications for BPD useful?
A few decades ago, mental health experts did not recommend the use of medications for curing BPD.
Currently, treatments for mental disorders include medications for anxiety and depression. These medicines do have significant effects on managing certain symptoms of the disorder.
It should be noted; there aren’t any medicines approved by the FDA for the treatment of BPD.
Also, medications may work well for some of the psychological conditions which usually occur along with borderline personality disorder.
Some of the medications are part of psychotherapy procedures in dealing with certain symptoms of any mental disorder.
Primarily, psychotherapy treatments are vital to the reduction of BPD symptoms. Anti-depressant medication helps to calm down some of the symptoms of BPD. A mentally relaxed person responds better to psychotherapy treatments.
Some of the most commonly prescribed medications for BPD include:
Anti-anxiety medications are useful in calming down severe anxiety-related issues for a few BPD patients. However, such anti-anxiety medications contain potential addictive elements.
Many a time, individuals with BPD are prone to become uncontrollably angry, impulsive, and paranoid thinking. In such situations, antipsychotics may help the patient to regain mental composure and calmness.
An individual with BPD goes through cycles of emotional ups and downs with sudden swings in mood. Antidepressant pills might help the patient to recover from sadness and depression to some extent.
Mood stabilizer medications such as lithium, asenapine, or carbamazepine may help the BPD patient to overcome impulsive behavior.
Omega-3 fatty acid
In recent human studies, researchers have repeatedly discovered associations between omega-3 fatty acid levels and symptoms of psychosis, self-harm, depression, and impulsivity. Some of the leading psychiatrists say that omega-3 fatty acids can be used therapeutically in borderline personality disorder.
Patients with severe symptoms of BPD may require suitable treatment at a psychiatric hospital or clinic. Admitting the patient to a hospital also helps to prevent his self-harming or suicidal attempts.
The inpatient hospitalization of a BPD patient is safe during a severe mental health crisis and to get that person stabilized.
In most cases, it is only for a short-term period the patient has to stay in the hospital.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder suffer sudden emotional outbursts and frequent mood swings. For this reason, self-help strategies for BPDs are necessary for quick recovery.
Self-help strategies for BPD include thorough learning about borderline personality disorder and developing skills to manage it. Also, the patient should learn to control emotional outbursts and impulsive behavior.
All self-help strategies for BPD should be planned and practiced under the care of a therapist.
Every BPD patient and persons living with them should know about mental health emergency services nearby.
In the United States of America, you can get help by dialing 911 or by approaching the nearest emergency room.
If the patient shows recurring incidences of self-harming acts or suicidal attempts, seek psychiatrists’ help immediately.
Persons living with the patient should anticipate a crisis and take the necessary steps to prevent any untoward incidents.
BPD Recovery Time
A borderline personality disorder is a complicated mental disorder that takes a long time to recovery. As the patient grows old, most of the symptoms diminish, but some of them continue to persist for years.
Regular therapy and conscious efforts by the patient can improve the ability to function and live a better life. Most people improve considerably, but the patient may continue to struggle with some symptoms.
According to research recovery from an illness is both clinical recovery and personal recovery.
Clinical recovery is measurable by diagnosing the existence or nonexistence of BPD symptoms in the patient. A mental health professional interviews the person again after a period of treatment to check the presence of symptoms and the ability to function in everyday life. If the symptoms stay diminished or disappeared over time, you can say the person has clinically recovered from BPD.
Personal recovery is a self-verifying process in which the patient identifies the positive changes in him/her. Personal recovery involves a unique process of changing one’s attitude, skill, goals, values, roles, and feelings. Personal recovery from BPD occurs when the person lives a satisfying and contributing life even with the limitations caused by the illness.