Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is not an easy condition to have or live with, but there are effective treatments available that can help improve the quality of life for someone who suffers from it. This guide will explain what borderline personality disorder (BPD) is and how it’s treated, as well as how you can help if you or someone you know has this condition.

1) Defining BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is defined as an emotional disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, impulsiveness and conflicts with others. People who suffer from BPD often have trouble regulating their emotions, which causes them to behave in impulsive or erratic ways. Some people suffering from BPD will even harm themselves when they’re experiencing severe emotional distress. The two most common approaches for treating BPD are dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and medication. DBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on mindfulness techniques and helps patients manage their emotions more effectively. Medication can help ease severe depression or anxiety caused by BPD; however, there’s no one drug used to treat all aspects of BPD.

2) Diagnosing BPD

To properly diagnose borderline personality disorder, clinicians use a structured interview (the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV) to confirm the presence of several diagnostic criteria. The patient’s mental health history is reviewed and any co-occurring diagnoses are noted. For example, it’s possible for someone with BPD to also have depression or anxiety disorders. The clinician then compares his or her notes to symptom descriptions in DSM-IV criteria. If most of these symptoms are present over a 12-month period, then the individual is diagnosed with BPD. The definition does not specify that all of these symptoms must be present concurrently for an individual to be diagnosed with BPD.

Helping Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder - HelpGuide.org3) Treatment Options

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of psychotherapy that combines cognitive, behavioral and mindfulness strategies. While there are no medications designed specifically to treat borderline personality disorder, research has found that DBT can reduce symptoms in some patients. Studies have also found DBT to be equally effective in treating borderline personality disorder when compared with other treatments for BPD, including individual or group psychotherapy, treatment as usual or supportive care. When compared with medications alone, DBT was more effective at reducing suicidal behaviors and hospitalizations in people with BPD. For many patients, combining medication with DBT is an ideal way to manage symptoms.

4) Finding Help

If you believe you are suffering from borderline personality disorder, it’s important to understand that there is help available. Many people with BPD are able to function well in everyday life once they’ve learned how to manage their symptoms and engage in healthier behaviors. For most people with BPD, effective treatment involves an individual therapy called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). This form of talk therapy teaches mindfulness skills, emotion regulation techniques and distress tolerance skills. DBT is highly regarded by mental health professionals as one of the most effective treatments for borderline personality disorder.

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