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Treatments for BPD

Updated on October 21, 2014

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

Are you looking for treatments for BPD?

Are you trying to find BPD treatment centers that specialize in behavioral therapy or DBT therapy?

Are you trying to find out what DBT therapy is?

Then you've come to the right place. Here I've explained the top known treatments for BPD, including dialectical behavioral therapy, medications, and self help.

First of all...

Why are you here?

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Video About Borderline Personality Disorder

This song is My Skin by Natalie Merchant. It's dedicated to those who either have Borderline Personality Disorder or are trying to understand it. The video is pretty powerful and I think it gives an accurate view of what it's like.

More Information about BPD

The internet is one of the most useful tools anyone can have when searching for information. There are literally thousands of websites that focus on providing information about Borderline Personality Disorder. I didn't list them all because you'll find a lot of the same information on most of them. These are my favorites I go to when I need help understanding a certain aspect of BPD.

Borderline Personality Disorder Therapy


The treatment of mental and emotional disorders through the use of psychological techniques designed to encourage communication of conflicts and insight into problems, with the goal being relief of symptoms, changes in behavior leading to improved social and vocational functioning, and personality growth.Read more at the Mayo Clinic

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) - Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

While there are many different types of psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy is the form most therapists use to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. So far, it's the best known treatment. DBT involves working one-on-one with a therapist, while at the same time, also participating in group therapy and practicing the skills at home. It's primary goal is to teach the skills necessary to achieve four concepts:

Mindfulness is the ability to concentrate on what's happening right now. It's the ability to live in the moment and fully experience the emotions you're feeling right now. This is especially important to a Borderline because we tend to live in the past. When something happens, we study it with a fine tooth comb. We pick it apart and try to find the meaning behind every little word or action. We'll concentrate on that one moment for days, meanwhile missing everything that's happening right now.

Distress Tolerance is the ability to accept yourself and your situation, without being judgmental. With distress tolerance, you'll be more able to calmly accept a negative situation and realize it's actual impact, instead of blowing it up in your mind until it overwhelms you. This ability can help you make rational decisions in reaction to negative situations.

Emotion Regulation is the ability to identify and regulate your emotions. This is a tough one for Borderlines because often our negative emotions tend to "take over". DBT will teach you the skills needed to identify, label and increase your awareness to the emotions your feeling right now. It will also teach you how to identify certain emotion triggers and how to react to them.

Interpersonal Effectiveness is the ability to be assertive, to tell someone "no" and the ability to cope with interpersonal conflict. Strange as it may seem, a Borderline can be extremely passive. I have a hard time being assertive. When I want to ask someone for something, my mind says that person is going to think bad of me for asking. When someone asks me to do something, I always do it because I don't want them to hate me. The weird part is that Borderlines actually have excellent interpersonal skills. If someone asks us to describe how to act in a certain situation, we can tell them. But we are incapable of actually doing it ourselves. The ability to harness this skill will let you attain the goals you want without hurting your relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Center - BPD Treatment Centers

Depending on your level of symptom severity, you might need inpatient treatment. This treatment is a lot more intense than outpatient treatment because you're working on your skills daily in a controlled environment. Plus, most inpatient programs also offer more types of co-occurring therapy. Treatment time, cost and the type of therapy all differ depending on which treatment center you choose.

Here is a list of some of the top BPD treatment centers in the USA. They are listed in alphabetical order by state. If you can't find one here, try searching on Behavioral Tech. They have a huge database.

Medications for Borderline Personality Disorder - Treatment Borderline Personality Disorder

While there are no medications that have been FDA approved to treat Borderline Personality Disorder as a whole, some physicians prescribe different medications to treat the individual symptoms of it.

Antipsychotics, such as Abilify and Risperdal, are prescribed at a lower dose to treat BPD patients who are especially paranoid or who experience a high number of dissociative episodes.

Mood Stabilizers like Topamax, are used to reduce impulsivity, anger, anxiety, and depression.

SSRI's (antidepressants), such as Prozac and Zoloft, are used to reduce anxiety and anger, but they have no effect on depression in a Borderline patient.

MAOI's (antidepressants), like Nardil, are sometimes used as a last resort, but only if every other medication has been tried.

Recent studies have shown that patients who receive both drug therapy and psychotherapy at the same time, improve faster than those just receiving psychotherapy.

Everyday Health has a good sized list of medications that are commonly used to treat BPD. Right now over 1000 Borderlines have left their reviews saying how each medicine worked for them, so it's a pretty good resource.

Self Help for BPD

Most inpatient treatment centers cost around $1000 a day and it's not always easy to find a therapist near you who specializes in outpatient DBT. because of this, there are a lot of people who need to seek alternative treatments for BPD. I was surprised not only to learn that there are BPD treatments available in the form of self-help books, but that these self-help books actually work. After reading all the positive reviews for this book, I bought it. That was over 3 years ago and I can't believe the progress I've made since.

The Angry Heart was written by Dr. Joseph Santoro. While he believes in the positive impact of DBT, he also believes you need to find the reasons behind your BPD diagnosis so you can confront and move past those trapped emotions. For most, that means dragging up memories that we would rather keep buried. Dr. Santoro takes you step-by-step through this childhood journey and then teaches you how to release the negative emotions you have towards those memories.

For me, this book was a godsend. It took me a while put all those horrible memories down on paper, and it took even longer to confront the feelings I had surrounding my childhood, but that's the beauty of a self-help book. You can work at your own pace!

While confronting my memories, I was also working on the exercises outlined in the book. These exercises are very similar to DBT. They start out kind of easy and then get harder the farther along you go. They are meant to be practiced daily and the more you practice each skill, the easier it is to use it when that situation comes up.

The Angry Heart: Overcoming Borderline and Addictive Disorders
The Angry Heart: Overcoming Borderline and Addictive Disorders

The guidelines followed in this book are the exact same ones that Dr. Santoro uses at his BPD treatment clinic.


Another book that helped

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation & ... (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation & ... (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

About a year ago, someone in a BPD support forum brought this book to my attention. At first, I was skeptical that a self-help DBT skills workbook could actually help. But, like the first book, this one had a lot positive reviews. So I went ahead and purchased it. While the exercises are similar to the ones in "The Angry Heart", I feel I'm learning more and improving faster by using both books.


Borderline Personality Disorder Support Group - Support groups for Borderline Personality Disorder

No matter what treatment you use for BPD, an online support group can help. These are all people that have either been where you are or they're going through the exact same thing right now. They are there to offer information when you're lost, support when you're fumbling, encouragement when you're on the right track and, sometimes, just an audience when you need to rant. As much as I hate to say "Misery loves company", it sure does help a lot to know that you're not the only one going through this.

You don't have to be a member of this site in order to comment. If you're looking for treatment options and I didn't list any near you, please let me know and I'll help you as much as I can.

All comments are moderated and html is removed.

© 2011 Othercatt

Comments and Questions

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    • justmelucy profile image


      6 years ago

      More great information for me. Thank you.

    • ngio64 profile image


      7 years ago

      I just commented all about DBT on another of your lenses before I read this. I would like to suggest another book that deals with emotional regulation of DBT. I used this book in 2005 while I was waiting to begin inperson DBT. It was very helpful. Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life: How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Put You in Control (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook) by Scott E. Spradlin (Paperback - Feb 9, 2003)

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 

      7 years ago

      You've put a very personal spin on this lens. Wonderful work!

    • Othercatt profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @anonymous: There are a bunch of outpatient treatment facilities in Aurora, but the only inpatient center I found in that immediate area was Timberline Knolls. Here is a link to a list of inpatient treatment centers in the states:

      I hope you find one close enough! Let me know if I can be of any more help.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Do you know of any residential treatment facilities near central illinois or in the Midwest (other than Timberline Knolls) that treat BPD? Thank you.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      7 years ago

      Squid angel blessed- glad to hear there is treatment for BPD.

    • MarianaFargasch profile image


      8 years ago

      thanks for sharing this lens Othercat... I have it bookmarked to come back at a later time to read it all through.... It's shower time for kiddo now, but didn't wanna miss this lens on the "favorites" tab!


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