There are many effective treatments for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Which treatments seem to work best, and what are the available options I should be aware of?
Usually, BPD is treated by a combination of medication and psychotherapy.Although in times of crisis, people with BPD may need a short hospital stay to stay safe. Recently, self-help tools have been developed to supplement traditional treatments for BPD.
Long-term outpatient psychotherapy or “talk therapy” is an important part of any BPD treatment. Studies have shown that several types of psychotherapy can effectively reduce the symptoms of BPD, include:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Schematic Focus Therapy
- Mental treatment
- Empathy-centered psychotherapy
Although there are currently no FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of borderline personality disorder, studies have shown that some drugs can indeed alleviate certain symptoms of this disease.When drugs are used in combination with psychotherapy, they may be particularly effective for BPD. In addition to helping relieve symptoms of BPD, medications may also help relieve coexisting mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.
Some of the most commonly used prescription drugs for BPD include:
- Antidepressants-Antidepressants may help relieve depression and anxiety.
- Antipsychotics-Antipsychotics are one of the first drugs used to treat BPD, and may be particularly helpful for some of the more problematic symptoms of BPD, such as anger, impulsivity, and paranoid thinking.
- Anxiolytics (anxiolytics)-Anxiety disorders are closely related to BPD, making some of these drugs helpful, but some of them are a double-edged sword due to their addictive potential.
- Mood stabilizers/anticonvulsants-Mood stabilizers may help impulsive and emotional responses.
Other potential treatments, such as omega-3-fatty acids, are also being explored. The best evidence for the benefit of BPD drugs involves second-generation antipsychotics and mood stabilizers.
The best way to see which medication options are right for you is to talk to your doctor or psychiatrist. They can help develop an action plan to control symptoms.
Borderline Personality Disorder Discussion Guide
Get our printable guide to help you ask the right questions the next time you see a doctor.
Borderline personality disorder is related to very strong emotional experiences. Sometimes people with BPD are sent to a mental hospital to stay safe. Inpatient treatment requires you to stay overnight in the hospital.
Another treatment option is partial hospitalization or day treatment. These programs are more intensive than traditional outpatient psychotherapy, but do not require you to stay overnight. If you may be facing a crisis, or you have just been discharged from the hospital and need a period of intensive treatment to ensure that the crisis does not recur, you may participate in a partial hospitalization or day program.
BPD’s self-help strategy is an important part of any treatment plan. Of course, these should be used to supplement care from a qualified therapist, not alone. An ideal plan involves learning as much as possible about your disease through self-help education, learning BPD health coping skills, and finding ways to help you express and manage your emotions.
There are valuable self-help resources available for BPD, which can be combined with more traditional forms of treatment. Books and online resources provide information about BPD and suggest ways to deal with these symptoms.
What to do in an emergency
If you or your loved one has a mental health emergency, getting help right away is essential. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If there is evidence that you (or your loved one) poses a danger to yourself or others, you may be briefly hospitalized in a mental hospital until the crisis passes. It is recommended that anyone with BPD develop a BPD safety plan. In this plan, you can predict crises and make plans for how to deal with your emotions before they turn into emergencies.