Borderline Personality Disorder: Helping Yourself and Your Family

By Argie Dabrowski

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a Cluster B personality disorder. Like other disorders in this category, including histrionic, narcissistic, and antisocial personality disorder, BPD is characterized by unpredictable, dramatic, and overly-emotional behavior and thoughts. Specific to borderline patients is a persistent fear of abandonment by others, which leads to unstable relationships, suicidal gestures, self-damaging behavior, anger and emptiness, and even dissociative symptoms. For those with this condition, their symptoms not only interfere with their daily functioning but can also strain their closest personal relationships. Having a family member that suffers from a personality disorder can be a difficult and distressing experience. When it comes to coping with borderline personality disorder in family members, steps can be taken to help both them and yourself.

First of all, it is important to remember that it is not your job to treat and constantly provide reassurance for a borderline family member. You can still show that you love and care about them, but not to the point that it affects your own mental health. It may be difficult, but you should not put your own life on hold for someone else or be their punching bag, verbally or physically. At that point, it is imperative to step away from the situation and allow the person to seek help on their own. Professional help is available to them in the form of medication and therapy.

Although there are no BPD-specific drugs, medications can be used if the patient is experiencing symptoms of other disorders with their BPD. For example, some people with borderline personality disorder experience depressive episodes so they may be prescribed antidepressants, such as escitalopram or fluoxetine. Mood-stabilizers can also be used and if a patient also has psychotic features, they may be treated with antipsychotics.

Besides medication, there are also multiple types of therapy that can be used to treat borderline personality disorder. Dialectical behavior therapy is a treatment that is available and is used to treat BPD specifically. Through this therapy, patients work on their ability to cope with their intense emotional responses and learn the skills needed to deal with crises and other distress in a healthy manner. It is easy to be overwhelmed when faced with borderline personality disorder in family members, but help is out there.

If you or someone you know is struggling with borderline personality disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/personality-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354463
psychologytoday.com/us/blog/matter-personality/201312/borderline-provocations-part-ii-how-not-respond
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20370242
psychcentral.com/lib/an-overview-of-dialectical-behavior-therapy/

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pathwaysreallife.com/borderline-personality-disorder-treatment/