It is important for BPD patients to try out several treatment options to determine the ones that work best for them.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental condition that has no specific cure but is highly manageable. If a family member displays symptoms such as self-harm behaviour, intense mood swings, and fear of abandonment among other signs of mental illness, immediate diagnosis can help bring relief. Psychologists say that attaching a name to psychological distress brings comfort to the patient and can help create a pathway for healing.
Care Program Approach
If someone shows moderate to severe signs of borderline personality disorder, they may be signed up in a treatment process called Care Program Approach (CPA). The approach ensures that every sufferer is given the right amount of treatment they need.
CPA is subdivided into four stages, namely:
- Assessment. The assessment stage as the name suggests is all about assessing the social and health needs of the sufferer
- Care plan. Here a care plan is formed to suit the social and health needs of a given patient
- Appointing a key worker. A key worker could be a nurse or a social worker
- Reviews. A treatment is continuously reviewed to determine whether there is a need for changing the care plan.
Psychotherapy is one of the most common treatments for BPD. While there are a variety of psychotherapies, they are all similar in one way or another. For instance, they are all designed to help the sufferer understand BPD better and change their thoughts, feelings, and how they view the world.
A psychotherapist listens and discusses important issues with the sufferer. They can also recommend possible ways to deal with problems and can help the victim change their perceptions, behaviours, and attitudes. In the long run, sufferers get better at controlling their feelings and thoughts.
It is recommended to get psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder from trained mental health practitioners, including psychologists and psychiatrists. Before settling for a psychotherapy expert, make sure to inquire about their experience first.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
DBT focuses on teaching patients of BPD how to deal with stressful situations, regulate emotions, and live without worrying about the future. Originally, DBT was meant for sufferers of BPD, but other mental conditions, such as treatments of anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, substance abuse, and depression have since adapted it.
DBT treatment is based on the belief that two crucial factors play a considerable part in borderline personality disorder:
- The sufferer is psychologically susceptible such that any stressful situation, no matter how small it is, can make them feel worried
- They were brought up in a toxic environment where their caregivers didn’t acknowledge their emotions. For instance, growing up, a guardian may have dismissed their feelings of stress or anxiety as ‘silly’.
As a result, the sufferer grows up thinking that their emotions make them bad people. This may result in more distressing emotions, feelings of worthlessness, and guilt.
DBT treatment tries to break this vicious cycle of depressing and intense emotions by validation and dialectics. Validation is all about teaching the sufferer to acknowledge their feelings as acceptable and valid. Dialectics, on the other hand, tries to instil positive changes in the sufferer’s behaviour.
Medicine is not recommended as the primary treatment for BPD, though it can sometimes help control symptoms. Health providers have varied opinions regarding the effectiveness of medication in BPD treatment. Although medicine is not recommended to treat borderline personality disorder, research shows that medicine can help if the person also has other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder or depression.
Mentalisation-Based Therapy (MBT)
MBT is a type of psychotherapy used by psychiatrists and psychologists to treat borderline personality disorder. It is based on the idea that someone struggling with a borderline personality disorder cannot mentalise properly.
Metallisation here means examining self-thoughts and beliefs to determine their authenticity. For instance, someone with a borderline personality disorder will feel the urge to harm themselves and then proceed to cut or burn themselves without questioning that urge. They have little capacity to ‘hold back’ the call to self-harm, and that’s where MBT comes in.
Treatments for BPD have considerably evolved over the last three decades or so. Thanks to modern-day treatments, people struggling with BPD can recapture their joy and lead a healthy life. Since some treatment methods work better than others, it is important for BPD patients to try out several treatment options to determine the ones that work best for them.