Although the estimated number of people suffering from BPD in the United States is 1.6%, this disorder frequently goes undiagnosed, especially in men, as 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women (Skodol et al., 2003). Symptoms of BPD sometimes can be misdiagnosed as another mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or Bipolar Disorder, but there are characteristics that distinguish BPD from other conditions. The most prominent of these are extreme fluctuations in mood and a history of unstable relationships. These symptoms are often accompanied by self-injurious or at times, even suicidal behaviors. What is important to note is that underneath these intense symptoms lie fears. People with BPD experience fears of abandonment, which makes it extremely difficult for them to tolerate being alone.BPD is a complex personality disorder that is often comorbid with other mental disorders. Some common comorbidities include Depression, Anxiety Disorders, Eating Disorders, PTSD, and Substance Use Disorders.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is the most commonly used method in psychotherapy. It teaches people the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and helps people learn how to challenge and reframe their thoughts using logical thinking. Therapists help their clients reduce self-defeating thoughts and behaviors, which helps people with BPD respond to daily challenges in less impulsive and more adaptive ways.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – DBT is a form of CBT that is the most widely used and most researched treatment for BPD. This treatment can occur in individual or group settings. This is a skill-based approach that teaches people with BPD to manage stress, regulate emotions, and develop healthy relationships.
Medications – Although there is no specific medication that treats BPD, sometimes medications are recommended to help people manage impulsivity, and the feelings of depression and anxiety. If people are at risk for harming themselves, hospitalization could also be recommended.
To learn more about the research on the effectiveness of therapy and counseling please read the following scholarly articles:
1. Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review Assessing the Efficacy of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) (Panos, Jackson, & Panos, 2014)
2. Mechanisms of change in dialectical behaviour therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy for borderline personality disorder: a critical review of the literature. (Rudge, Feigenbaum, & Fonagy, 2017)