Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health condition that affects the way an individual processes and reacts emotionally to everyday situations. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about 1.6% of U.S. adults are diagnosed with borderline personality, but it could be as high as 5.9%. And according to the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, more than 14 million Americans suffer from borderline personality every year, making it more common than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Borderline personality disorder typically causes emotional instability, intense emotions, issues with expressing feelings, and intense episodes of anger or depression. These episodes can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Individuals who struggle with borderline personality disorder usually endure long-term patterns of turbulent feelings, issues with their mental health, and have trouble reaching an emotional baseline.
One of the key symptoms is an obsessive fear of abandonment—desperately wanting close relationships while simultaneously pushing people away with impulsive behavior. Individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder also have an elevated incidence of self-harm and suicidal behavior. And according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the exact cause of borderline personality disorder remains unknown, though both environmental and biological factors are thought to play a role.

The History of Borderline Personality Disorder

According to the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, the term “borderline” has been the subject of debate. Historically, borderline personality disorder was considered to be on the borderline between psychosis and neurosis. However, the name of the condition doesn’t describe the disorder well and may be more harmful than helpful. The true nature of this disorder involves ongoing patterns of difficulty with self-regulation and trouble with emotions, thinking, behaviors, relationships, and self-image. For these reasons, borderline personality disorder is sometimes referred to as emotion disregulation.

a young girl joining hands in thought as she looks away while her therapist talks to her

Diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder

Diagnosis is often complicated since people with borderline personality disorder often struggle with co-occurring mental health conditions, including substance use disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other personality disorders. And more than half of people with borderline personality disorder suffer from major depressive disorder, another common mental health disorder. Additionally, the diagnosis of borderline personality is often missed, and the misdiagnosis of borderline personality has been shown to delay and prevent recovery. One example of the misdiagnosis of borderline personality disorder is bipolar disorder, which also includes periods of mood instability.
Individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder have BPD symptoms that are associated with the mnemonic device “PRAISE”:
  • Paranoid ideas
  • Relationship instability
  • Abandonment fears, angry outbursts, and affective instability
  • Identity disturbance and impulsive behavior
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Emptiness
Because of the severe instability of emotions and impulsive behaviors, individuals with borderline personality disorder tend to feel like they’re losing their mind or that they’re misunderstood. They’re often perceived as emotionally unstable by those who know them and have difficulty maintaining jobs, completing their education, or experiencing fulfilling relationships. Since borderline personality is one of the most serious mental health conditions, it’s important to get timely treatment.

Common Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Those suffering from borderline personality may experience some of the following common BPD symptoms:
Those with borderline personality disorder are very prone to accidents, physical fights, self-injury, and suicide attempts. Since it can greatly affect a person’s mental health and well-being, it’s vital for those struggling to seek treatment from a trained mental health professional at a BPD treatment center like Lifeskills South Florida.

Our Individualized Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Programs

Living with untreated borderline personality disorder may result in serious adverse consequences. Individuals with this disorder are at an increased risk for self-mutilation, suicide, and violent behavior. And without borderline personality treatment, the symptoms may even worsen the presence of other mental health or physical health problems.

At Lifeskills South Florida, we offer several levels of borderline personality disorder treatment based on where clients are in their recovery. Our BPD treatment includes detoxification services, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs, as well as a transitional living program. Clients move through their BPD treatment as they progress toward recovery. Provided below are details about each of our borderline personality disorder treatment programs.

Lifeskills Fort Lauderdale: Detox and Subacute Residential:

Lifeskills Deerfield Beach: Residential:

Lifeskills Delray Beach: Outpatient:

Lifeskills Osceola House: Transitional Housing:

In this closely structured and supportive therapeutic environment with 24/7 nursing support, we provide a non-traditional residential program with detox services for higher acuity clients as a stepping-stone to a more traditional residential setting.
At Lifeskills Deerfield Beach, clients live in fully furnished and professionally staffed townhomes, allowing them to adapt their new coping skills and practice their daily routines during treatment. Residential treatment includes group therapy and support groups.
Our partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP) allow clients to expand their independent living skills while increasing their responsibilities.
A FARR Accredited and Level II transitional living community, Osceola House residences allow individuals to step down to semi-independent living while attending our outpatient programming.

How We Treat BPD: Dialectical Behavior Talk Therapy

Fortunately, the disorder can be treated effectively, but borderline personality disorder treatment must be long-term within a consistent and empathetic BPD therapy regimen.
Lifeskills South Florida offers a comprehensive Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Pathway that’s primarily used to treat borderline personality disorder and emotional disregulation. It’s a 13-week curriculum that includes BPD therapy, which is a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Zen Buddhism. Our borderline personality therapy focuses on homework, learning new skills, and mindfulness. During the DBT Pathway clients learn to balance acceptance and change. Components of the DBT Pathway used to treat borderline personality include:

Our Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Pathway

Our Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Pathway centers around the four primary dialectical behavior therapy skills: core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation. Developing these skills is necessary for anyone trying to manage their mental illness including those struggling with borderline personality disorder.

Core Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the basis of our dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) approach. Learning to “live in the moment” helps those with mental health disorders lead more fulfilling lives.

Distress Tolerance

Developing the skills needed to tolerate distressing situations without engaging in self-destructive behaviors is an important part of the DBT process.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Interpersonal skills can be challenging for people struggling with mental health disorders like borderline personality, so our DBT approach helps clients improve interpersonal effectiveness.

Emotion Regulation

Effective emotion regulation helps clients with mental health disorders manage situations as they arise instead of becoming angry and having outbursts during heightened emotional states.
Our structured approach to dialectical behavior therapy is based on six principles including:

Acceptance and Change

Resisting change is the main cause of stress and turmoil for people struggling with borderline personality disorder. Accepting circumstances as they are and making positive changes leads to more effective self-regulation.

Behavioral

Problematic behaviors are another source of distress. Learning to replace destructive behaviors with healthy, constructive ones help those with mental health disorders.

Cognitive

Cognitions (or thoughts) are difficult to control for someone living with borderline personality. Dialectical behavior therapy helps individuals with mental health disorders catch, check, and change their thoughts, so they aren’t in a constant battle with their thoughts.

Skill Sets

Developing new skills makes the mental health recovery process easier and more effective. Dialectical behavior therapy provides individuals with the skills they need to manage their borderline personality and lead a more productive, fulfilling life.

Collaboration

Interpersonal skills are a necessary part of life but can be difficult for those living with borderline personality. Building collaboration skills and fostering an environment where these individuals can grow and flourish is a vital component of dialectical behavior therapy.

Support

Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. An active, engaged support system is vital for anyone trying to overcome borderline personality. Dialectical behavior therapy ensures each client has a support group and system to help them throughout treatment and beyond.

Borderline Personality Disorder FAQs

If you’re suffering from borderline personality, it’s important to recognize that it’s not your fault. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the exact causes of borderline personality remain unknown, though both environmental and biological factors may play a role. Additionally, no specific gene has been shown to directly cause borderline personality, but various genes have been identified as playing a role in the development of the disorder. The brain’s functioning, seen in MRI testing, is often different in people with borderline personality, suggesting there may be a neurological basis for this mental health disorder.
On its own, self-injurious behavior doesn’t lead to suicide; however, people with borderline personality may engage in a variety of life-threatening behaviors. Some of these behaviors include burning and cutting to regulate emotions, or as a form of self-punishment. If you or someone you know is self-harming, it’s vital to seek help as soon as possible.
According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, while borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness, it’s not necessarily a lifelong disease. Research shows that the prognosis for borderline personality has improved over the past decade. With the right treatment, almost half of those diagnosed with borderline personality won’t meet the criteria for diagnosis two years later. And ten years later, 88% of those who were diagnosed with borderline personality no longer meet the criteria for a diagnosis. With the right kind of treatment, your borderline personality disorder symptoms can improve, too.
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