14 Minutes

Edited & clinically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
Fact checked

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that affects people’s views of themselves and their interactions with others. BPD, like all other personality disorders, is a long-term disorder whose treatment emphasizes symptom management and enhancing quality of life instead of “curing” the illness.

BPD is described by the American Psychiatric Association as a pervasive pattern of interpersonal and social relationship instability, self-image, and emotions, as well as marked recklessness, beginning in early adolescence and manifesting in a variety of situations.  It is helpful to grasp basic borderline personality disorder data and figures to fully comprehend the impact of BPD.

You may feel intimidated, worried, and alone if you’ve received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, BPD is far more frequent than you might anticipate.

Knowing the facts regarding the disease, such as the prevalence rates, might help ease anxiety in seeking assistance through psychotherapy and help groups. Here are some statistics and information about BPD.

Prevalence

According to a recent study, BPD affects 1.6 percent of the population in the United States.  That amount may appear insignificant, but when you examine the size of the United States, you’ll discover that 1.6 percent constitutes a substantial number of individuals.

With that number, BPD affects nearly 4 million people in the United States alone. BPD is less well-known than other diseases, but it is more frequent than conditions like schizophrenia.

Gender Disparities

Women are much more often than men to be labeled with BPD. Women make up roughly 75 percent of those diagnosed with BPD, with three women diagnosed for every one man. Researchers are baffled as to why there is a gender divide.

It is indeed possible that women are more susceptible to BPD, that women are much more likely to seek treatment, or that there are gender preconceptions in diagnosis. Men with BPD symptoms, for example, are more likely to be misidentified with Major Depressive Illness (MDD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Suicidality

The scientific literature on BPD and suicidality has some of the most devastating borderline personality disorder figures. Approximately 70% of people with BPD will attempt suicide at least once in their lives.

Misdiagnosis

While 1.6 percent of persons are diagnosed with BPD, the true frequency could be far higher. Over 40% of persons with BPD were previously misdiagnosed with other diseases such as bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder, according to a recent study.

These conditions are frequently mentioned, maybe because they are more well-known and treatable with drugs than a borderline personality disorder. It’s also common for people with BPD to have comorbidities or illnesses in addition to their BPD.

Up to 20 percent of individuals with BPD are simultaneously diagnosed with bipolar illness, making therapy and diagnosis more difficult than managing just one condition.

Because individuals with BPD are vulnerable to stress, tense situations can trigger symptoms associated with the disorder. External or internal tensions can exacerbate BPD’s most explosive symptoms, and they often differ from person to person. Borderline personality disorder has both mental and interpersonal triggers, most of which are unique to each individual.

Identifying the emotions, ideas, and experiences that trigger symptoms is the first step in managing these symptoms for yourself or your spouse. If a source of stress is unavoidable, you should be able to control the symptoms. To recognize triggers and acquire abilities to properly manage them, you should engage with a mental health practitioner to practice mental and physical activities.

It is critical to comprehend episodes to effectively control triggers. These episodes vary greatly depending on circumstances and the individual, but there are certain typical red flags to look for when recognizing one.

Things that may indicate the onset of an episode include:

  • Violent outbursts of extreme anger
  • Suicidal ideation and self-harming behavior
  • Trying to go tremendous lengths to feel significant, and then became reclusive and avoidant.
  • Feelings of paranoia, as if everyone wants to control you

Extreme sensations of happiness and exhilaration might accompany these episodes. People who suffer from this illness are prone to acting rashly. These emotional highs should be noted as symptoms of an episode since they may be associated with risky conduct.

Some patients with BPD have serious symptoms and require high-end residential, inpatient, or intensive outpatient treatment. Others would utilize certain outpatient treatments but never need to be admitted to the hospital or receive emergency care.

Specific Psychotherapy for BPD at Luxury Rehab Centers

Long-term outpatient psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” is an essential component of any BPD treatment. Several types of psychotherapy are successful in reducing BPD symptoms in several studies, including:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT was the 1st form of psychotherapy well-known for being effective in treating individuals with borderline personality disorder.  DBT is a type of cognitive behavior therapy that focuses on the relationship between beliefs, thoughts, actions, and behavior. Participants learn how to control distress and develop resilience to deal with intense feelings in this therapy. This strategy incorporates mindfulness.

Schema-Focused Therapy. Schema-focused therapy is a type of interdisciplinary psychotherapy that combines psychoanalytic theories and cognitive behavioral therapy. Unfulfilled necessities from early life can result in harmful ways of looking at the world, according to schema-focused therapy. This treatment focuses on tackling these harmful beliefs and behavior while also emphasizing healthy patterns of coping and thinking.

Mentalization-Based Therapy. Mentalization-based treatment has been researched for BPD and has been shown to aid with depression, anxiety, and psychosocial adjustment. This treatment aims to teach the patient to recognize mental states, including their feelings and thoughts as well as those of others with whom they communicate. They are then prepared to see how these feelings influence their behavior or the behavior of others as a result of recognition.

Transference-Focused Psychotherapy. With the prior research studies, transference-focused therapy may be as helpful as or superior to dialectical behavior therapy for BPD. The notion of transference, which is a critical characteristic in psychodynamic therapies, is used in this therapy. It involves transferring sentiments and aspirations from early interactions to an individual in the present. Transference-focused therapy makes use of the client-therapist interaction to help the psychotherapist see how the patient interacts with others. This insight can then be used by the therapist to help a person act more appropriately in their other relations.

Family members and Caregivers can benefit from therapy.

Therapy may also benefit families and caretakers of patients with a borderline personality disorder. It can be distressing to have a close relative or dear one with the disease, and members of the family or caregivers may unknowingly behave in ways that exacerbate their loved one’s suffering.

Members of the family, caretakers, or dear ones may be included in several borderline personality disorder therapy. This form of therapy aids in the following ways:

Allowing a family member or close one to learn how to effectively accept and support someone with a borderline personality disorder.

Paying attention to family members’ concerns is essential to assist them in comprehending the challenges and issues of managing someone with a borderline personality disorder. Although additional studies are needed to assess the efficacy of family therapy for treating borderline personality disorder, research on other mental diseases indicates that engaging family and friends in a person’s treatment can be beneficial.

Advice for Caregivers and Families

To support a relative or friend who is suffering from the disorder:

  • Provide emotional comfort, compassion, tolerance, and reassurance – change can be challenging and scary for persons with borderline personality disorder, but it can improve over time.
  • Know about mental illnesses, such as borderline personality disorder, so you can comprehend what the person suffering from it is going through.
  • Urge your close one to inquire about borderline personality disorder treatment and to seek family therapy.
  • Consider seeking help from a professional. Your close one with borderline personality disorder should not get to see the same clinician if there are no considerable effects.

Although many patients with BPD take medicine, there seems to be little evidence that it is effective. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States has not authorized any drugs for the treatment of BPD. This isn’t to say that medicine isn’t useful—especially if you have co-occurring issues like anxiety or depression—but it’s also not a cure for BPD.

Therapy is far more beneficial in the case of BPD. All you have to do now is wait. Your health care professional may, however, prescribe medicine if:

  • You’ve been given a diagnosis of BPD as well as bipolar disorder or depression.
  • You have panic episodes or are subjected to extreme anxiety.
  • You start having strange, paranoid ideas or hallucinations.
  • You’re suicidal or on the verge of harming yourself or others.

Not only can BPD symptoms overlap with other mental health issues, but it is also common for mental illnesses to coexist with BPD. These accompanying mental issues, known as co-occurring disorders with BPD, can obscure symptoms.

Certain personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder share characteristics with BPD. This is why, instead of trying to diagnose oneself or a close one, it is critical to seek tailored mental health therapy from a specialist.

BPD and Bipolar Disorder: BPD and bipolar disorder frequently co-occur, making either disorder increasingly serious and unstable. Bipolar disease and borderline personality disorder cause irritability, mood, and behavioral changes that influence every aspect of a person’s life.

People who have both diseases are said to have a dual diagnosis of bipolar and BPD, and they must treat each condition separately and concurrently.

BPD and Suicide: Suicide is a major issue for people who suffer from borderline personality disorder. Suicide tendencies are frequent among individuals with borderline personality disorder, especially in their early adulthood. Self-harm activities such as burning or cutting are common in persons with BPD, and the American Psychiatric Association estimates that the suicide risk for people with BPD is somewhere between 8 percent and 10 percent, implying that roughly 1 in 10 patients with BPD will commit suicide during moments of flare-up symptoms.

BPD and Trauma: Experts identify a connection between childhood trauma and borderline personality disorder when people are looking into risk factors or other conditions which seem to trigger symptoms. Although it is difficult to tell that trauma causes borderline personality disorder, it appears to be a factor, along with other factors such as desertion and social instability. Given the link between traumas and the emergence of borderline personality disorder, it may be beneficial to avoid potentially dangerous situations if possible or to seek proper therapy after trauma to eliminate or reduce the risk of BPD.

BPD and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Given the relationship between BPD and trauma, it should be unsurprising that borderline personality disorder and PTSD are interrelated. BPD patients are more prone to develop PTSD, while PTSD patients are more likely to acquire BPD.

For you and others around you, the symptoms of borderline personality disorder can be exhausting or even painful. You may be mindful that your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are harmful to yourself or others, yet you will be unable to control them.

You can help control or cope with your disease in addition to receiving expert treatment if you:

  • Learn about the root causes and remedies by studying more about them.
  • Recognize the triggers for impulsive behavior or furious outbursts.
  • Seek expert assistance and follow your treatment regimen – go to all therapy sessions and take your medicines as prescribed.
  • Devise a strategy with your mental health practitioner about what to do if a crisis occurs again.
  • Seek treatment for any underlying issues, like substance abuse.
  • Include family and friends in your therapy to make them understand and encourage you.
  • Developing coping strategies, including mindfulness meditation and breathing methods can help you manage powerful emotions.
  • Set boundaries and limits for yourself and others by understanding how to convey emotion in ways that don’t alienate others or cause social instability or abandonment.
  • Make no judgment about how other people think or feel about you.
  • Make contact with other people who have the disease to share your thoughts and experiences.
  • Create a network of people who behavior understand and appreciate you.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and participating in social activities.
  • Do not hold yourself responsible for the disorder; instead, accept responsibility for getting it addressed.

A trained therapist’s assistance and direction can make a major difference in BPD therapy and rehabilitation. Therapy can provide a secure environment in which you can begin to work through your trust and relationship concerns, as well as “try on” new coping skills.

Schema-focused therapy and Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are two BPD therapies that an experienced practitioner will be acquainted with. However, while some therapies are effective, following a specific treatment plan is not always mandatory. Most specialists feel that almost all BPD cases can be treated with weekly therapy that includes education about the disorder, emotional and social skill training, and family support.

It is indeed critical to choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable—someone who seems to understand you and helps you feel understood and accepted. Allow yourself plenty of time to discover the right person. Once you have done that, remain committed to counseling. You may believe that your psychotherapist will be your savior at first, only to be disenchanted and believe that they have nothing much to give. It is important to remember that these oscillations from idealization to condemnation are a sign of BPD. Try to stay with your therapist as long as possible and enable the relationship to develop. Also, bear in mind that change is inherently unpleasant. You are probably not growing if you never feel uncomfortable in treatment.

Therapeutic communities are organized settings in which persons with a variety of complicated psychological problems and requirements can connect and participate in therapy.

Therapeutic communities are meant to enable people with long-term emotional difficulties and a tendency of self-harming by educating them on how to function socially.

The majority of therapeutic communities are residential, including huge residences where you reside for 1 to 4 days per week.

You will be expected to participate in other activities aimed at improving your self-confidence and social skills in addition to group and individual therapy, such as:

  • Household chores
  • Preparing meals
  • Sports, games, and other leisure pursuits
  • Community gatherings regularly – whereby residents discuss any challenges that have emerged in the community

The majority of therapeutic communities are democratically run. This means that every staff member and resident has a say with how the therapeutic community is run, such as whether or not a person is eligible to live there.

Even though your care team believes you would be benefited from socializing in a therapeutic community, this does not guarantee that the therapeutic community will accept you.

Some therapeutic communities have rules on what is and aren’t appropriate behavior in the community, including no violence towards other residents, no drinking or employees, and no self-harming efforts. Those who violate these rules are typically forced to evacuate the therapeutic community.

Although some persons with BPD have stated that their symptoms improved after spending time in a therapeutic community, there isn’t enough information to say whether therapeutic communities would benefit everyone with BPD.

A therapeutic community would also be unsuitable if a person was having substantial difficulty controlling their behavior due to the typically tight restrictions on behavior.

Every luxury rehab is unique, however many include facilities like as:

  • Separate rooms 
  • Horse riding
  • Hot tubs and Swimming Pools
  • Fitness centers
  • Nutritional guidance
  • Services of a maid
  • Round the clock security
  • Views of the beach or mountains
  • Having access to high-end electronic gadgets while undergoing treatment
  • Saunas
  • Sunrooms
  • Classes on deep breathing and meditation
  • Gourmet Chef-prepared meals

Though facilities differ by region, the goal is for all visitors to feel at ease and pampered. Patients have the luxury of focusing exclusively on their recovery by having a list of lodgings at their convenience. A good recovery and retention rate is linked to a combination of high-end amenities and evidence-based therapeutic approaches like psychotherapy.

FAQs