Borderline Personality DisorderWhat Therapy Type Is Best For Borderline Personality Disorder?

Updated December 9, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Are you or is someone you care about living with borderline personality disorder (BPD)? If so, you’re not alone. There are effective treatment methods that can be facilitated by a licensed counselor or therapist. Below, we’ll look at borderline personality disorder, symptoms to look for, and the types of therapies used to treat it.

Learn About Borderline Personality Disorder.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can cause an individual to experience an intense fear of being abandoned or of any type of instability. They tend to be frightened or concerned about being alone, and this can cause them to react in extreme ways. Someone with borderline personality disorder may be angry or impulsive or have frequent mood swings because of these fears. These behaviors can push people away even further. One treatment method for BPD is online therapy, which can help people with borderline personality disorder gain more control over their lives and reactions.

Symptoms Of Borderline Personality Disorder

As mentioned above, someone with BPD may have a strong fear of being abandoned and go to any length to ensure that they won't be rejected or left alone. They may have unstable relationships as a result of these feelings, and they may have to change goals or values for themselves. They may experience a variety of other symptoms, such as the following:

  • Paranoia, or a lack of connection with reality

  • Impulsive behavior

  • Risky behaviors

  • Suicidal threats

  • Recklessness

  • Self-injury

  • Mood swings

  • Inappropriate behaviors or anger

This isn't an exhaustive list of symptoms, and symptoms may present in any number of combinations and levels of severity. Each person can experience the disorder differently.

Frequently Asked Questions About Borderline Personality Disorder

What Is The Best Therapy For Borderline Personality Disorder?

The best types of psychotherapy for BPD may include case management, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mentalization-based therapy (MBT), or a combination of these. Unlike other mental health conditions, BPD tends to be heavily focused on behavior, including self-destructive behaviors. Evidence-based behavioral therapy can be one of the best ways to work on BPD. 

Can BPD Be Cured With Therapy?

Although not all psychologists agree, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), and the American Psychiatric Association have published studies that show that it is possible to find some level of healing from therapy for BPD. Some therapies may provide better outcomes than others, and it’s also important to keep in mind the possibility of misdiagnosis in the case of trauma-related disorders. 

Where It Comes From

There are many different theories about where exactly this disorder comes from and why someone may develop it. In general, most experts assume that there is a genetic component as well as a brain development component contributing to the development of this disorder. Some research shows a hereditary link in families with this disorder. 

Stress or trauma in childhood may increase someone’s risk of developing this disorder as well. This means children who are sexually or physically abused or children who are neglected may be at higher risk. Also, those who have lost their parents or who have lived with parents who experience substance abuse or mental health challenges of their own may also have a higher risk.

Treatment for BPD

When it comes to getting BPD treatment, both medication and therapy are often used to manage symptoms. Some psychiatrists choose to prescribe them in combination or alone. In severe cases, suicidal ideation or self-injury can create the need for short-term hospitalization with BPD. *If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, seek immediate help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 988 and is available 24/7.”

It’s important to note that someone with BPD can still live a healthy life when they seek and engage in treatment. There are several therapy modalities that may help with the disorder, so speaking with a mental health professional about options may be helpful in determining what treatment will work best.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

This is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps patients learn to tolerate intense emotions. In dialectical behavior therapy, the individual may learn coping skills that help them figure out how to react more effectively when they are in a difficult situation or when they feel strong emotions arising. This type of therapy also emphasizes interpersonal skills to help with conflict management in relationships as well as mindfulness to aid in the tolerance of distress caused by intense emotions. Research has shown this therapy to be highly effective in the treatment of borderline personality disorder.

Schema-Focused Therapy

This type of therapy looks at the participant’s childhood and the way that an unhealthy childhood can lead to an unhealthy development of ideas and attitudes about the world around them. One of the goals of this type of therapy is to look at the beliefs that the individual has that are unhealthy and to work on changing those beliefs to make them more positive. Schema-focused therapy looks at thoughts and behaviors and seeks to change the understanding that a person developed in the past to something healthy for their future.

Mentalization-Based Therapy

With this type of therapy, the therapist focuses on the individual’s thoughts and feelings, as well as the thoughts and feelings of other people. It's about recognizing how different thoughts or different types of feelings can contribute to different reactions and behaviors. Mentalization-based therapy also focuses on recognizing how the behaviors of one person can impact the behaviors of another. In this way, it may be possible to modify thoughts to ultimately change out the behaviors that the person engages in. The individual's behaviors can then impact someone else's behavior.

Learn About Borderline Personality Disorder.

Medication 

Medication may be important for someone with borderline personality disorder. Medication can't necessarily treat an underlying personality disorder, but it may alleviate some of the symptoms. When used with therapy, medication may help with symptom management as new skills are learned in the therapy process. The most common types of medications that are used include antidepressants, antipsychotics, anxiolytics, and mood stabilizers. You can discuss all potential medication options with your doctor beforehand to minimize any negative side effects.

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder With BetterHelp

Recent research suggests that online therapy can be an effective treatment for those experiencing symptoms of borderline personality disorder. In a comprehensive review published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, researchers looked at the efficacy of online therapy when treating BPD. They noted that despite the fact that BPD is a prevalent condition, it is often under-treated. It is also a way of providing self-help materials so that participants can reinforce important concepts or develop useful skills outside of sessions. Online therapy can also bridge the treatment gap by circumventing several barriers, such as high costs, geographic and time constraints, and perceived stigma.

As discussed above, if you’re living with borderline personality disorder, online counseling may help provide you with valuable tools to manage your symptoms. With online therapy through BetterHelp, you can easily make or modify appointments online or through the app. Without having to coordinate with your therapist weeks or months ahead of time, you can quickly and painlessly create a schedule that works for you. A licensed counselor can help you confront complex emotions arising from BPD. Read below for counselor reviews from those who have sought help in the past.

Counselor Reviews

“Loretta has undoubtedly changed my life. In my late attempt to deal with trauma she has shown me the light at the end of the tunnel. Through various strategies and methods she has provided me, I have become less paranoid, guilt-ridden, and anxious. I am so glad I decided to start using BetterHelp and was paired with Loretta.”

“I cant speak highly enough about David. I came to BetterHelp about 3 months ago with severe PTSD that was ruining my life and my relationships. In a short time I began to learn better and healthier coping mechanisms, tools to stop and change thought patterns and find a new sense of peace and confidence. What a difference. I would recommend David to anyone that may be seeking help from trauma and anxiety, he is very good.”

Takeaway

If you are concerned you may have borderline personality disorder, know that you don’t have to face this alone. There are therapists available in person or online who specialize in the treatment of borderline personality disorder. No matter what type of treatment you seek, help is available. Take the first step today.

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