I’m not going to bother with scare-mongering stories about never recovering from BPD, as it is possible for most. It is however, highly dependant on finding the right treatment for you.
You see, Borderline Personality Disorder has different ‘levels’. You could have Low Borderline characteristics or traits – ‘low-level’ (sounds like some kind of video game), where you are able to maintain a close relationship with a partner. The low-level borderline will most likely enter treatment with a professional for their feelings of emptiness or self-harm, and may often go undiagnosed for a long period of time due to their low mood and symptoms being attributed to other factors such as being fired, or fights with a partner.
The next is ‘medium-level’ – as the symptoms become more severe you may experience more anger, and more frantic efforts to avoid imagined or real abandonment. People with medium BPD traits are described as having difficulty seeing things from others point of view and devaluing others. This level of borderline functioning is full of drama from current and previous relationships and recurrent self-harm or suicide attempts to avoid abandonment.
Then ‘high-level’ – These individuals find themselves unable to maintain a relationship. Without a functioning support system they may become increasingly lonely and angry. At this level of BPD symptoms, the most likely coping mechanisms are efforts to distract the self by using drugs and alcohol, abusing food, and acting out behaviours. Fights, promiscuity, self-mutilation or suicide attempts may also be common.
The type of treatment you may have access to is dependant on your needs. It may also be dependant on what treatment is available in your area.
Typically BPD is treated with a combination of medication, talking therapy, skills therapy (like DBT) and hard work on the individuals part.
Medications may be used to help with low moods. They do not ‘make you happy’ but they stabilise your mood, to ensure you do not dip so low. They may also be used to treat concurrent side effects of BPD such as insomnia, depression and anxiety.
The following talking therapies may be useful for someone recovering from BPD:
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) – a treatment specifically developed for BPD. It uses individual and group therapy to help you learn skills to manage your emotions.
- Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT) – a long-term talking treatment which aims to improve your ability to recognise and understand your and other people’s mental states, and help you examine your thoughts about yourself and others to see if they’re valid.
- Therapeutic communities – specially designed programmes where you work with a group of other people experiencing mental health problems to support each other to recover.
You might also find other talking treatments can help you, for example:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a treatment which aims to help you understand how your thoughts and beliefs affect your feelings and behaviour.
- Other talking therapies – you might find other talking treatments useful, such as psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy or arts therapy.
INFORMATION FROM ‘MIND’