Can Borderline Personality Disorder Be Treated?

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious, long-term mental health condition that significantly impacts people’s ability to regulate emotions or control impulsive behaviors. Often people living with BPD experience heightened levels of sensitivity to what is occurring around them which can result in varying intense emotional reactions. Living with BPD can make it difficult to manage the symptoms you’re experiencing alone. The good news is hope and mental health treatment in California is available. While BPD can’t be cured, there are effective measures of borderline personality disorder treatment that can assist in minimizing the serious impacts of BPD and help you manage triggers or stressors as they occur. The right mental health treatment program helps you to learn how to navigate your symptoms as they occur through effective measures of behavioral treatment that allow you to have a better quality of life. 


To learn more about the most effective behavioral treatments at a professional treatment facility, please get in touch with Alter Behavioral Health by calling 866-647-2716 today.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD is considered to be a Cluster B personality disorder that is characterized by dramatic or erratic behaviors. These dysfunctional behavior patterns can lead to emotional distress and social or relational concerns. A borderline personality disorder is characterized by the inability to regulate emotions and manage emotional or behavioral responses. This typically impacts the relationships that people can have with others. Most relationships experience discord and distance due to the emotional instability that can occur. 

There is still research being conducted to determine the cause of BPD. Science, thus far, has shown that BPD has genetic and environmental factors that cause the onset of BPD. There has been some evidence that differences within the brain affect a person’s emotional and impulsive regulation. Oftentimes, there are environmental factors that can increase the likelihood of BPD especially when someone is genetically predisposed to BPD. Environmental factors of childhood abuse, traumatic childhood events, neglect, or separation are common among individuals living with BPD. 

BPD impacts the lives of approximately 1.6% of Americans, equating to over 5 million people. Women are more likely to live with BPD with approximately 75% of Americans living with BPD identifying as female. For a doctor to diagnose a person with BPD, it’s required that the person is over the age of 18. While children may show signs of BPD, there are no stats to track this until they can be formally diagnosed. 

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Several symptoms could be observed in someone suffering from borderline personality disorder:

  • Impulsive or harmful behaviors include substance use, overeating, high-risk or sexualized behaviors, or gambling.
  • Intense moments of anger, anxiety, or depression
  • Feelings of emptiness can be associated with loneliness or neediness
  • Intense fear of abandonment or being alone. This can lead to becoming agitated or angry even after a brief period of separation from a friend, family member, or even a therapist
  • Rapid mood changes
  • Engaging in impulsive or high behaviors. These behaviors can lead to abandonment or loss of relationships with those around you which can be the very thing a person with BPD fears
  • Volatile relationships and attitudes toward others change from idealization to extreme anger or dislike
  • Difficulty with anger management
  • Experiencing paranoid thoughts or dissociative states. This often occurs because the brain attempts to avoid painful emotions or thoughts
  • Unstable or unhealthy self-image or self-perception. People living with BPD tend to have a poor self-image and distorted perceptions of themselves as “bad.” They can abruptly change their self-image or find ways to sabotage their goals and successes in life
  • Higher risk of self-harming behaviors. Approximately 75% of people living with BPD have self-injured once or twice
  • High risk for suicidal ideations or behaviors

Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Treatment Options for Borderline Personality Disorder

While it can be complex, there are borderline personality disorder treatment options that can help people live a better life while coping with their symptoms and learning new tools to get through day-to-day interactions.

Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Treating borderline personality disorder requires the support of evidence-based therapy. inpatient mental health Treatment approaches are a long-term commitment as the patient and clinician will work over a long-term period to address the behavioral and emotional impacts and impulse controls. The therapeutic process for BPD includes a combination of psychotherapy methods and, in some cases, medications. 

Therapy approaches used in borderline personality disorder treatment include:

  • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): This therapy method was designed for individuals with BPD. It assists patients in learning skills to regulate and control their intense emotions, reduce harmful behaviors, and improve relationships with others. DBT helps patients to accept the reality in life and helps them change their behaviors. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of therapy helps patients to explore how thoughts and emotions are linked to their behaviors. Patients will work with a therapist within a goal-oriented therapy model. Through CBT sessions, patients can unlearn negative thought and behavior patterns and develop new healthy thinking and behavior patterns that promote stable, healthy thoughts, emotions, and actions. 
  • Psychodynamic therapy: This talk therapy method is the preferred treatment method for BPD. It can be completed through group and individual therapy sessions. Psychodynamic therapy aims at supporting patients to identify their motivations for changing behaviors and provide tools for initiating the change they want to see and maintaining it for the long term. 

Medication for Borderline Personality Disorder

Treating borderline personality disorder through medications is possible. There isn’t one specific medication that is intended for borderline personality disorder treatment that the Food and Drug Administration has approved at this time. There has been evidence that certain medications are helpful for treating symptoms of BPD. 

Antidepressants can help patients living with BPD manage symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or emotional reactivity. Antidepressants commonly used in BPD treatment are:

  • Prozac
  • Zoloft
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Lexapro

Antipsychotics can help patients reduce any impulsive behaviors, mitigate feelings of anger, and regulate emotions. Common antipsychotics used in the treatment of BPD are:

  • Risperdal
  • Zyprexa
  • Haloperidol
  • Abilify

Self-Help Techniques for Borderline Personality Disorder

Many people seek methods for at-home treatments or self-help techniques that enable them to face and manage any presenting symptoms of BPD. You must identify your triggers and indicators of distress with your symptoms for BPD. Being honest with yourself about your BPD and when an emotional crisis is triggered will help you properly plan and prepare for any unsettling side effects with healthy, self-help tools. As you feel the onset of symptoms for BPD, specific soothing strategies can help minimize the severity of your symptoms and give you peace of mind. 

A key component of living with BPD is establishing a healthy lifestyle that fosters stable mental and emotional health. Ensuring that you have regular sleep habits, eating proper, healthy nutrition, keeping hydrated, and engaging in regular forms of exercise. A lifestyle that incorporates a healthy combination of these areas helps to promote healthy body and mind functioning. 

When symptoms arise, patients often experience higher stress levels that can sometimes feel unmanageable. Learning stress management techniques will help you regulate your emotions, avoid erratic or impulsive behavior, and increase thought and emotional clarity. Developing the skills for mindfulness is key to managing stress. Mindfulness practices include deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, journaling, or walking in nature. Practicing mindfulness will keep you feeling grounded so you can overcome any distressing emotions or thoughts. 

To learn more about the most effective behavioral treatments at a professional treatment facility, please get in touch with Alter Behavioral Health by calling 866-647-2716 today.

Navigating Mental Health Stigma and Finding Support

The general public commonly misunderstands mental health disorders. If you don’t have first-hand knowledge or have taken the time to learn about the specific impacts and symptoms of mental health disorders, there can be misinformation and judgment placed on those living with mental health disorders. 

Overcoming Stigma Around Borderline Personality Disorder

For people living with BPD, some common misconceptions and stigmas living with BPD means a person is unstable or dangerous due to their difficulty regulating emotions and acting impulsively. The fear and uncertainty some have about BPD can lead to stigmatization from others that can result in negative attitudes towards your illness, having people avoid contact with you due to fear and blame or judgment placed on you that you’d be able to change your behaviors if you wanted to. 

To help overcome the stigma of BPD, the most important thing you can do is to continue to provide awareness for BPD by talking about it openly with others. The more the public can learn about BPD, the more compassion, empathy, and understanding that others can have toward someone living with BPD. 

Resources and Support for Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder

Individuals living with BPD don’t have to feel alone in their inner battle with mental health. There are resources available that will connect you with professionals and peers that understand the impacts that BPD can have and offer guidance and hope to develop the tools needed to manage BPD in a healthy manner. There are local support groups in most American cities that will allow you to connect with other individuals living with BPD in a safe, supportive environment. 

Mental health organizations offer some resources and hotlines available to support at any time of day. Depending on the organization, there may be access to individual counselors, therapy programs, support groups, and telephone support lines. Mental health organizations that you can connect with within the United States are:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NAMH)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)

The Long-Term Outlook for Borderline Personality Disorder

While borderline personality disorder is a complex condition, people living with it can look forward to a bright, productive future if they receive treatment and care for themselves.

Coping Strategies for Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

Being prepared for uncertain times with BPD will ensure that you can combat the onset of symptoms and maintain stable mental health functioning. The following are practical tips for managing day-to-day life with BPD:

  • Practice daily mindfulness
  • Be aware of your triggers and develop a safety plan when feeling intense emotions or impulses
  • Journal or keep a mood diary
  • Reach out to friends or family when you need support
  • Have a therapist that you see regularly
  • Practice self-care techniques that help to soothe and calm you
  • If self-harm is a concern, find safe ways to let out emotion without engaging in self-harming behaviors
  • Look after your physical health
  • Be mindful of using drugs or alcohol as it can increase the severity of your symptoms
  • Maintain regular sleep habits

The Future of Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

The good news for most people living with BPD is that the prognosis for patients usually shows that symptoms can improve as a person ages. The symptoms of BPD in early adulthood tend to be the most severe and as you age, the severity of symptoms will decrease. Recent research has found that 85% of individuals diagnosed with BPD will no longer suffer from BPD after 10 years and after 16 years, nearly 99% of individuals will no longer be living with BPD. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder:

What is Borderline Personality Disorder and can it be treated?

Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts a person’s way of thinking and feeling and will influence their ability to have relationships with others, regulate their emotion, and control any urges or impulses. BPD can be treated through psychotherapy methods and medications that help to minimize the symptoms and enable you to maintain daily life. 

What are the most common treatments for borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder treatment in Irvine, and California overall, is most commonly done through individual and group psychotherapy sessions. The most popular treatment methods are cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy. 

How effective is psychotherapy, especially Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), in treating borderline personality disorder?

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy was originally developed to support people living with BPD. DBT helps patients explore methods of emotional regulation, identify harmful behaviors, and learn how to manage those impulses through healthy, self-regulation techniques. 

Can medications help manage symptoms of borderline personality disorder?

Yes, some medications can help manage symptoms of BPD. Medications that are given to patients with BPD are antidepressants or antipsychotics that help to target and treat symptoms of BPD. 

How can lifestyle changes complement the clinical treatment of borderline personality disorder?

Lifestyle changes can help to naturally treat any symptoms of BPD and support natural emotional regulation. As you receive clinical treatment and develop coping strategies, a healthy lifestyle will enable you to stay regulated and centered as you progress in your treatment process. 

What role does family and social support play in the treatment and management of borderline personality disorder?

A family member or social support can be a significant part of a person’s BPD treatment. Loved ones can practice setting boundaries, showing care and concern towards the person living with BPD, and offering guidance during their treatment journey. With the right social support, people with BPD can learn how to regulate emotions independently and develop healthy, meaningful relationships without pushing others away. 

How long does it typically take for treatment to show noticeable improvements in BPD symptoms?

To start seeing improvements from a BPD treatment, the person living with BPD must show consistency in their treatment plan. If you follow your treatment plan, attend therapy, practice healthy family lifestyles, and take medications as needed, many patients will start to notice improvements within 6 to 12 months. 

Are there any novel or experimental treatments being explored for borderline personality disorder?

New treatments are being explored regularly for BPD. One method that has recently been explored is Iconic Therapy (IT). This treatment method uses images to help patients learn new coping and life skills that address and manage symptoms of BPD. 

Can borderline personality disorder go into remission with treatment?

While there is no cure for BPD, treatment can help mitigate the symptoms’ severity. A person may not go into complete remission from BPD but there will be significant improvements in a person’s daily life. Patients find they can identify triggers or harmful emotions or behaviors and learn skills to address these occurrences through healthy coping skills. 

How does one cope with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder and navigate the treatment journey?

Upon diagnosis, the best thing to do is to speak to your loved ones or a mental health professional. Receiving a diagnosis can feel overwhelming for some. Having emotional support as you navigate the treatment process will ensure you have the care you need and find appropriate mental health treatments, support groups, and psychiatric care.

Reach out to Alter Behavioral Health at 866-647-2716 today to learn more about Borderline Personality Disorder treatment in California.