There are a variety of effective treatments for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Usually, BPD is treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy, although during times of crisis, individuals with BPD may require brief periods of hospitalization to remain safe. More recently, self-help tools have been developed to supplement traditional treatments for BPD.
Psychotherapy - Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Options
Long-term outpatient psychotherapy, or "talking therapy," is an important part of any treatment for BPD. Research has shown that several types of psychotherapy are effective in reducing the symptoms of BPD, including:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
DBT for BPD focuses on teaching skills to tolerate distress, stabilize emotions, and maintain healthier relationships.
- Schema Focused Therapy
Schema focused therapy for BPD focuses on confronting maladaptive beliefs that are developed as a result of early life events.
- Mentalization Based Therapy
Mentalization based therapy for BPD focuses on helping the client to recognize mental states, such as thoughts, feelings, and wishes, in themselves and in others.
- Transference Focused Psychotherapy
Transference focused psychotherapy uses elements of the relationship between the client and the therapist to help reduce BPD symptoms.
Although there are currently no medications approved by the FDA to treat BPD, research has shown that some medications do reduce certain symptoms of the disorder. Medication may be particularly effective for BPD when it is used in conjunction with psychotherapy.
Some of the most commonly prescribed medications for BPD include antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics (anti-anxiety), and mood stabilizers/anticonvulsants. Other potential treatments, such as omega-3-fatty acids, are also being explored.
BPD is associated with very intense emotional experiences. As a result, people with BPD may need intensive BPD treatment.Sometimes people with BPD are admitted to a psychiatric hospital for intensive treatment. Inpatient treatment requires you to stay overnight in the hospital.
Another treatment option is partial hospitalization or day treatment. These are programs that are more intensive than traditional outpatient psychotherapy, but do not require you to stay overnight. You may be enrolled in a partial hospital or day program if you may be headed toward a crisis, or if you have just been discharged from inpatient hospitalization and need a period of more intensive treatment to make sure the crisis does not reemerge.
There are valuable self-help resources available for BPD that can be used in conjunction with more traditional forms of treatment. Books and online resources offer information about BPD and suggest ways to cope with the symptoms.
If you or someone you love is experiencing a mental health emergency, it is critical that you get help immediately. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. If there is evidence that you (or your loved one) are a danger to yourself or others, you may be admitted for a brief hospital stay on an inpatient psychiatric unit until the crisis has passed.
Triebwasser, J, and Siever, LJ."Pharmacotherapy of Personality Disorders." Journal of Mental Health, 16: 5-50, February 2007.
Kraus, G, and Reynolds, DJ. "The A-B-C's of the Cluster B's: Identifying, Understanding, and Treating Cluster B Personality Disorders." Clinical Psychology Review, 21: 345-373, 2001.