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. Medication may help in some cases, but is not the main treatment for BPD, because while it may help relieve some of the symptoms, it does not improve BPD itself.
Psychotherapy is the main type of treatment used for BPD.
There is a range of psychological therapies that have been shown to be effective in the treatment of BPD. Examples 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.
- Schema-focussed therapy helps change the way people view themselves (reframing schemas) to improve self-image.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can assist people with BPD to work on core beliefs that are negatively impacting their lives.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy teaches new ways to interact with people.
Medication is not recommended as a first-line or sole treatment for BPD. However, it can sometimes help control symptoms, and can be useful if the person with BPD also has other mental health disorders, such as:
Hospitalisation may be required in severe cases, but is 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.
Last reviewed: December 2016