Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Do You or Someone You Love Need BPD Treatment?

To live with Borderline Personality Disorder means that you live a life of extremes, extreme feelings, extreme moods, extreme impulsivity, extreme outbursts, and extreme fear.  Your unstable self-image means that you do not know who you are, nor do you know what your values are.  The only thing you are sure of is your fear of abandonment and that you will manipulate others to avoid it.  This is a very difficult way to live.  Because this instability is so volatile, it is difficult for family and friends to understand you.  The loved ones of a person with BPD end up riding this roller coaster of extremes with you, often with no idea as to why.  The extreme highs and lows are confusing and alienating to the loved ones of a person suffering from BPD.

The good news is that help is available.  The better news is that healing is not only possible, but also probable.  The majority of people who suffer from the symptoms and effects of  Borderline Personality Disorder achieve remission.  If you are tired of the extremes in your life, help is available.  If you care about someone who lives a life of such extremes, talk with them about Borderline Personality Disorder.  Help them to know and understand that the life they are living is much more arduous than it needs to be.  Help them to help themselves.

Treatment Plan for Borderline Personality Disorder

The aid of others is necessary for a person dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder.  For the best results, a team will need to be created for healing.  This team will consist of loved ones, a therapist, a Borderline Personality Disorder healing program, and a support group.  These four team members will all play important roles in healing this disorder.

  • Loved ones – Loved ones will play a significant role in the healing process and should not be undervalued.  The will provide support and help with therapy and treatment becomes challenging.
  • Therapist – A therapist who specializes in Borderline Personality Disorder will be able to create an individualized treatment plan.  They will also help find and provide the resources necessary for healing.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder Psychotherapy Facility – A BPD psychotherapy program will help increase your odds for successfully dealing with a Borderline Personality Disorder.  They will use various treatment strategies to tackle any other co-occurring issues.
  • Support Group – A support group can provide accountability and guidance which is important. They will provide assistance when facing the trials of stopping therapy and taking medications. They will play a key role in ongoing success.

Treatment Levels for Borderline Personality Disorder

There are many levels of treatment for handling borderline personality disorder.  Because it is highly common for borderline personality disorder to co-occur with other mood disorders and substance abuse, the proficiency of a borderline personality disorder treatment program is often needed to completely treat the disorder.  The most commonly used treatment levels are:

  • Inpatient/Hospital Treatment – Continuum of care for 24 hours per day in a hospital setting. The primary focus of this level of care is medical and psychological stabilization with stays less than three weeks.
  • Residential Treatment Center (RTC) – This treatment level offers in-center care for 30, 60 or 90 days.  Residential living care directs the attention on the borderline personality disorder, but also deals with any co-occurring disorders or drug dependence.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) – This type of program is often held in a hospital or residential setting and includes attending groups and individual therapy sessions.  It normally goes five days a week either all morning or all afternoon.  There are some PHPs that will go Monday through Friday, 9 to 5.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) – An intense level of outpatient treatment is given that focuses personal services and aid.  Sessions are conducted in the mornings or afternoons and permits the patient to carry on some day to day behaviors.
  • Outpatient Care – This level of outpatient care is much like an IOP but not as intense.  There are few individual limits placed on the patient, but personal treatment and group sessions are still applied.
  • Support Group – This type of treatment is important when dealing with borderline personality disorder.  They give the patient acceptance without condemnation as the members have all walked this same road.

Types of Pharmacological Therapy for BPD

Currently, there are no drugs that effectively treat the core symptoms of chronic feelings of emptiness, identity disturbance and abandonment that are so prevalent in  borderline personality disorder.  However, there are drugs that will help to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the often co-occurring conditions.  Examples of some of the drugs are:

  • Anti-psychotics
    • Haloperidol (Halosten)
    • Ziprasidone (Geodon)
    • Aripiprazole (Abilify)
    • Quetiapine (Seroquel)
    • Flupenthixol (Depixol)
    • Risperidone (Risperdal)
    • Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • Mood-stabilizers
    • Valproate semisodium (Epilim)
    • Valproic acid
    • Topiramate (Topamax)
    • Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
    • Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
    • Lithium
    • Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)
    • Gabapentin (Neurontin)
  • Anti-depressants
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Amitriptyline (Tryptizol)
    • Sertraline (Zoloft)
    • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)
    • Paroxetine (Paxil)

Types of Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Because there are currently no drugs that address the core issue of Borderline Personality Disorder, psychosomatic treatments are considered to be the main treatment for reaching remission.  A borderline personality disorder treatment center will utilize many different types of therapeutic techniques to help the person suffering from BPD to heal.  A proven and successful way to treat borderline personality disorder is to use different modes of rehabilitation.  The program will incorporate a mixture of behavioral therapies so the emotional and psychological needs can be addressed.

  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) – This rehabilitation type pays attention to the interpersonal relationships and cultural roles using concise supportive analysis and works to assist the patient to uncover better tools to address problems and issues that currently exist.  IPT has four main elements, which are relationship shortcomings, unresolved grief, role disputes and role changes.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a treatment therapy that addresses maladaptive thinking patterns in order to affect the patient’s behavior in a more positive manner.  It also helps the patient to replace negative coping skills with positive coping skills.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – This version of behavioral therapy combines aspects of IBT and CBT behavioral therapies for emotion regulation.  Mindful awareness and stress management elements are merged into this treatment.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – This type of cognitive behavioral treatment uses mindfulness and acceptance approaches mixed in multiple ways with strategies of commitment and behavior-change.  The emotional and mental flexibility should be increased.
  • Supportive Programs – Groups much like group therapy, support groups, family therapy, etc. are included in this type of treatment.  These support groups help the people involved in a borderline personality disorder to better deal with difficulties.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a heavy burden to handle.  You have to deal with chronic feeling of emptiness, unstable sense of self and crushing fear of abandonment.  On top of this, you feel more intensely and at higher rates of change than the general population.  These intense feelings can lead you to manipulating behavior to obtain or continue being nurtured.  When you are up, you are way up.  When you are down, you are way down.  When you like someone, you idolize them.  When you are disappointed with them, you hate them.  However, there is hope.  There are ways to help yourself and to have a stable life.  There are borderline personality disorder treatment centers where you can get the assistance you need and deserve.  You do not have to suffer in isolation.  Your loved ones can rally round you to get the treatment you need.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 25th, 2013
Published on, Substance Abuse Information Online