Borderline Personality Disorder affects about 1% – 4% of people in Australia at some stage of their lives.
If a person shows signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a health service provider will check their medical history and carry out a full physical examination on them. While there are no lab tests for BPD diagnosis, a health provider may perform an array of tests on the patient to rule out the possibility of a physical illness being the reason behind the symptoms.
If the health provider does not find any reason to pin the symptoms to, they may refer the patient to a healthcare professional who’s well-versed with the diagnosis and treatment of mental diseases.
Mental health experts use special assessment tools and ask a series of interview questions to evaluate people for BPD. Since the signs of borderline personality disorder can include intense mood swings and unpredictable behaviour, it is not easy to differentiate it from bipolar. An experienced mental health expert can, however, find out whether the signs point to borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, or both.
Treatments For Borderline Personality Disorder
There are three primary treatments for BPD, namely psychotherapy, medication, and hospitalisation. A mental health provider may employ one of these treatments or more.
Psychotherapy is a special kind of therapy designed for BPD patients. It involves a series of counselling sessions to help the patient increase their self-awareness and focus on building stable relationships.
Psychotherapy also focuses on assisting the patient to become less impulsive and encourage them to use better judgment in their everyday behaviour and decision making.
Psychotherapy can be subdivided into dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), schema-focused therapy, and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT).
DBT teaches acceptance and change. It focuses on improving the patient’s behaviours by motivating them to change their negative ones. The DBT process is intensive and can involve both individual and group counselling.
CBT, on the other hand, is all about helping the patient to identify their unhealthy behaviours and beliefs and adopt more accurate perceptions about themselves and others. CBT teaches the patient how to respond to anger, insecurity, anxiousness, and suicidal thoughts healthily.
Schema-focused therapy focuses on changing the patient’s perception of life and the world in general. It also helps patients view themselves more positively.
Besides psychotherapy treatment, a mental health professional may recommend medication. While medication may not cure borderline personality disorder, it can help relieve the symptoms. The good news is there’s a wide variety of BPD medication out there, including antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications.
If the patient shows severe signs of BPD, the health provider may recommend temporary hospitalisation for better and more focused treatment. Hospitalisation is recommended to patients who have suicidal behaviour or those with thoughts of harming themselves or others.
Complications of Borderline Personality Disorder
If a person dealing with BPD does not receive proper treatment soon enough, they may be at risk of eating disorders, depression, drug abuse, self-injury, or even suicide. Additionally, a borderline personality disorder can lead to work and relationship problems, sexually transmitted diseases, separation, divorce, legal and financial problems.
Can BPD Be Prevented?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a known way of preventing borderline personality disorder. However, if the symptoms are noticed early enough, a mental health professional can help the patient cope with the condition and avoid severe BPD symptoms.
Borderline personality disorder is a common mental disorder that tends to develop during adolescence and sometimes during early adulthood. It is characterised by impulsive behaviour, trouble keeping stable relationships, distorted self-image, and intensive mood swings. It affects about 1% – 4% of people in Australia at some stage of their lives.
The outlook for patients with borderline personality disorder varies. While the mental condition can be a permanent dilemma, patients can still get better. However, recovery can be challenging and slow.
With proper management and treatment, most patients of BPD can recover and improve their lives. Some patients, however, are reluctant or unable to take their medication seriously leading to a weak outlook.