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Treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD)

2-minute read

Once a diagnosis is made for a borderline personality disorder (BPD), ongoing treatment is managed by a mental health professional.

The most effective treatment combines support and psychological therapy. Medicine may help in some cases, but it is not the main treatment for BPD. While medicine may help relieve some of the symptoms, it does not improve BPD itself.

Psychological therapy

Psychotherapy is the main type of treatment used for BPD. Examples of therapies that can help include:

  • Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) is a treatment specifically developed for BPD and includes individual and group therapy. Techniques such as mindfulness are used to help manage intense and difficult feelings.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can assist people with BPD to work on core beliefs that are negatively impacting their lives.
  • Other forms of therapy that teach new ways to interact with people or to view yourself or the world.

Medicine

Medicine is not recommended as the main treatment for BPD, though it can sometimes help control symptoms. Medicine is also useful if the person with BPD also has other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder or depression.

In severe cases, a person with BPD may need to go to hospital. This is usually only recommended as a short-term measure for those who are at risk of harming themselves or others.

The first step in seeking help and treatment for borderline personality disorder is to visit a doctor who can coordinate a team of mental health professionals, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist to manage your condition. Family and friends of people with BPD may also find therapy useful in helping them cope with caring for their loved one.

Where to get help

If you need someone to talk to, or want to find out more online, here are some organisations that might be able to help:

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Last reviewed: December 2018

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