A Path to Hope and Healing with Borderline Personality Disorder

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BPD patients often have distorted, unstable self-images and beliefs. They shift rapidly between idealizing and demonizing people, reflecting black-and-white thinking (splitting into extremes of good and bad).

These changes can cause intense emotional distress that leads to impulsive behaviors. Fortunately, treatment can help reduce these symptoms.

Psychotherapy

BPD affects the way you feel about yourself and your relationships with others. You may have an unstable self-image, often switching jobs, friendships, partners, and values. You may also experience volatile and stormy interpersonal relationships that quickly turn from idealization to devaluation, anger, and hate.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is one of the main treatments for BPD. There are many different types of psychotherapy, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), schema-focused therapy, Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving, or STEPPS. These therapies can help you learn new ways to be in the moment and reduce extreme emotions and behaviors.

Some people with BPD find relief from medication as well. Antidepressants and antianxiety medicines might ease some symptoms, especially if depression or anxiety is present along with the BPD. There is some evidence that mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications can reduce irritability, impulsivity, or aggression, but the benefits must be weighed against possible side effects.

Research on the effectiveness of psychotherapy for BPD is limited. Still, a study reported that all participants experienced an improvement in their BPD symptoms, with happiness and peace being primary characteristics of recovery. There is also evidence that family therapy can help improve a person’s ability to function and relate to others. Support groups are another option. Some organizations offer a warm line, staffed by trained peers with experience with BPD to provide support and encouragement.

Support Groups

People with BPD are often susceptible and may experience extreme emotions, including intense anger and rage. This emotional instability can cause a person to become so overwhelmed that they may lose touch with reality. This is often referred to as dissociation.

In addition to a therapist, support groups for BPD can be an excellent resource for anyone. Support groups can teach families how to communicate better with their BPD loved ones and help them learn how to respond more effectively to negative behaviors. These groups also provide a safe place for the family members to express their frustrations and feelings and get advice from other families experiencing similar situations.

Many people with BPD have strained relationships with their families due to past trauma or the erratic symptoms of this psychiatric disorder. However, it is essential for people who are suffering from BPD to try to reach out to those in their lives and build new bonds. Having support from others can make all the difference in their mental health. This can include extended family, neighbors, friends, or even peers. BPD is very unpredictable, so it can be hard to find the right relationship, but perseverance is key.

Medication

Medications can help people with borderline personality disorder deal with intense feelings. They are not typically prescribed because the risk of addiction, dependency, and overdose is too significant, but they can be an effective tool in combination with psychotherapy.

People with BPD have a distorted or unclear self-image and often feel guilty, ashamed, or bad about themselves. They can also experience unstable relationships characterized by intense emotions, sudden changes in friendships and ideals, and impulsive behaviors. They may sabotage their progress in school, jobs, or other aspects of life, such as failing a test on purpose or ruining a relationship.

The first step is to find a therapist or psychologist experienced in treating BPD. Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is usually the treatment of choice. It can include cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps a person understand their negative thoughts and behaviors. It can also include dialectical behavior therapy, which teaches skills to control emotions and improve relationships.

Mentalization-based therapy, developed specifically for people with borderline personality disorder, focuses on helping people identify the emotion they are experiencing and whether it matches the reality of the situation. It can be used in individual, group, and residential treatment settings. In addition to psychotherapy, medications available can help ease some symptoms of BPD.

Education

Many people with borderline personality disorder have an intense fear of abandonment. They may misread a friend or family member’s words, amplify their emotions, and believe others hate them. This often drives them to try to keep a loved one close by begging, clinging, starting fights, tracking their movements, or blocking their access. This behavior often backfires and drives the other person away.

Psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, can help people with BPD learn healthier ways of interacting with others and expressing themselves. Some types of talk therapy that have been shown to improve symptoms of BPD include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

The therapist will teach people with BPD to recognize their thoughts and feelings during psychotherapy. They will then learn to accept those feelings rather than fight or suppress them. The therapist will also help the patient develop healthy coping mechanisms and improve their relationships.

Another type of therapy is transference-focused psychotherapy or TFP. In this approach, the therapist helps the patient build a positive relationship with them and then uses this relationship to play out some of the challenges they face in their other interpersonal relationships. Research on this method is limited, but it has shown promise in improving the quality of a person’s life and decreasing the frequency of self-destructive behaviors and suicidal thinking.