While scientists are yet to find a cure for borderline personality disorder (BPD), this mental illness is highly treatable. With the right approach, it’s possible to manage the symptoms, achieve remission, and improve the patient’s quality of life.
Borderline personality disorder affects around 1.6% of the general population. This condition impacts the person’s ability to manage their emotions and reflects on their behavior. BPD can get better with age. However, without appropriate treatment, symptoms can lead to serious consequences.
Symptoms of BPD
A person who lives with BPD can have problems controlling their emotions and behavior. Common symptoms of borderline personality disorder include:
- Fear of being left alone, fear of abandonment
- Unstable relationships with family and friends.
- A confused image of self
- Impulsive behavior that can sometimes be dangerous (binge eating, reckless driving, substance abuse)
- Self-harming behavior (cutting, burning, pulling hair)
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
- Severe mood swings
- Intense anger and issues with controlling it
- Feeling of disassociation (when a person feels as if they are observing themselves from the outside)
- Feeling that what’s happening with them isn’t real
- Feelings of emptiness
- Black-and-white thinking
If a person has BPD, they may not experience all of the above symptoms. Their number and intensity depend on the severity of the condition.
Researchers are yet to learn what the main cause of BPD is. Studies have discovered several factors that could contribute to the development of this condition:
- Genetics – people with a family history of BPD are more likely to develop the condition than those without it.
- Social factors – some people develop BPD after experiencing traumatic life events (abuse, abandonment)
- Other mental health conditions – people with anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are more likely to develop BPD than those without such a history.
- Gender – 75% of people who live with BPD are females at birth. The causes of such a prevalence are yet to be discovered.
In most cases, people with BPD receive the diagnosis in late adolescence or early adulthood. Sometimes, this condition can be diagnosed in the early teen years.
Are you struggling with borderline personality disorder in or near Orange County, California? Check out Acera Health’s residential treatment program if you or a loved one need to get away and recover.
Can BPD Be Cured?
Today, there isn’t a cure for BPD. However, this condition is highly manageable with readily available treatment options. Many people who develop BPD in early adulthood see a decline in symptoms over the years.
Several studies showed that the majority of BPD patients improve over time. With treatment, around 25% of patients from the study experienced a remission of the diagnosis. When researchers reassessed these patients 10 years later, 91% of the achieved at least a 2-month remission.
Meanwhile, 85% of the participants achieved remission for 12 months or longer. One study examined BPD patient data over 27 years. By the end of this period, 92% of them were in remission.
While the prognosis for people with BPD is favorable, it’s important to consider co-occurring conditions. BPD patients often suffer from anxiety disorders, mood disorders, PTSD, substance abuse issues, and eating disorders.
When treating BPD, it’s imperative to address co-occurring disorders simultaneously. Many mental health clinics offer dual diagnosis treatment for people with BPD.
What Treatment is Available for BPD?
For the treatment to be effective, a mental health professional studies the patient’s traits, history, and symptoms. Then they can suggest the best approach to treatment for BPD, including:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – developed specifically to treat BPD, this therapy focuses on helping a person accept reality and develop healthy ways to deal with stress. Patients learn how to control emotions and reduce impulsivity.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – this type of therapy teaches patients to control their condition by changing the way they think and behave. It focuses on minimizing negative thoughts and adopting healthier thinking patterns.
- Group therapy – during group therapy patients meet with other people who have the same condition and discuss their problems together under a therapist’s supervision. This can help battle the feeling of loneliness and encourage BPD patients to share their thoughts and emotions.
- Medication – doctors don’t usually use medication to treat BPD. However, sometimes they may prescribe certain drugs to alleviate some of the symptoms.
Some people try to ignore the condition and hope that it subsides on its own. While remission is possible, without treatment it may not come early. Consequences of untreated BPD can include:
- Problems with relationships
- Lost job or uncompleted education
- Legal issues (including jail time, especially for people with co-occurring substance abuse disorders)
- Self-injury and related health issues including frequent hospitalization
- Medical conditions as a result of car accidents, frequent changes of partners, and risky behavior
- Attempted suicide
Around 10% of people with BPD commit suicide. That’s one of the top reasons to get treatment for this condition as soon as possible.
How Long Does BPD Treatment Take?
The duration of BPD treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the illness, the patient’s age, and the type of treatment. For some patients, it can take several weeks while others may continue therapy for many months.
Some people who have BPD can benefit from residential facility treatment while others can take advantage of intensive outpatient programs.
In many cases, patients achieve substantial results during the initial therapy sessions. As they learn how to control their condition, their quality of life can improve considerably.
Need to find help for mental health treatment in Orange County, California? Acera Health offers outpatient treatment for people who need individual, group, or other evidence-based therapies.
Learn More About BPD and Treatment Options with Acera Health
People who live with borderline personality disorder often wonder if BPD can be cured. While there isn’t a cure yet, high-quality treatment can help achieve remission. In just a few weeks of treatment, patients can experience a significant improvement.
BPD often comes with co-occurring disorders. It’s imperative to address these mental health issues together to achieve a faster remission.
At Acera Health, we work hard to help people who live with mental health conditions. Our experienced clinical team focuses on BPD remission, dual-diagnosis treatment, and patient comfort.
If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for BPD and other mental health disorders, please contact us at any convenient time.