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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Treatment and Symptoms

  • For convenience the condition is also referred to as “BPD”.
  • As with any of Personality Disorder only a psychiatrist can formally diagnose you as having BPD.
  • BPD is sometime referred to as “Emotional Instability Disorder”, although the name is misleading

Don't worry

If you have BPD diagnosis, or someone you know has, don't worry. It is quite common, and there have been several effective non-medicative treatments developed to treat it.

These are all forms of talk therapy, which offer of you a space of listening and understanding. In therapy no one will judge you. In fact, a professional will work with you to understand your experience more. Together you set goals and outcomes that you can reach. And you also learn tools and techniques that you can use in your daily life.

Symptoms of BPD

The following are some of the common symptoms of BPD:

  1. You harm yourself or think about harming yourself (for example, cutting or overdosing).
  2. You fear abandonment – rejection – orbeing alone.
  3. You sometimes believe in things that are not real or true or see or hear things that are not there (hallucinations).
  4. You often feel emotional or that your emotions are up and down (for example, feeling confident one day and despair another)
  5. You often have feelings of emptiness and often anger.
  6.  You sometimes feel others don't understand you or can't be trusted.
  7. You find it difficult to make and maintain relationships. 
  8. You feel differently about yourself depending on who you are with. 
  9. You sometimes take risks or do things without thinking about the consequences.
  10. You may also have other health problems such as:
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Eating disorders
    • Substance misuse
    •  Psychosis

To be diagnosed with BPD you need to show 5 or more of these traits. So even if they don't all apply to you treatment for BPD may still help.

Causes of BPD

The causes of BPD are not well known. BPD appears to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Traumatic events that occur during childhood are often associated with BPD. Many people with BPD have experienced parental neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse during their childhood.

Treatment for BPD

There are many treatments for BPD. These include music and art therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy and therapeutic communities.

My approach draws on all three.

In therapy we will look at understanding your world and what is meaningful to you. Together we'll unpack how you think and feel in different situations. We'll find activities that will help you feel calmer and relaxed. Not only in normal life, but in in anxious situations too.

I understand that you might have grown up in an environment where those around you dismissed your emotions. And that you may feel vulnerable. For instance you may get anxious easily. You may find it difficult to trust others. This is especially so in groups or intimate relationships.

Therapy Challenges

There are several challenges BPD clients face:

  • Since you may often feel misunderstood and hurt by those around you it can take time to trust your therapist.
  • Not all therapist understand or are trained to deal with BPD so it may take time to find the right one for you.
  • You may feel a desire to push people away when they get too close and this may mean you often feel like quitting therapy.
  • Your extreme sensitivity and intuition can at times be difficult to manage. Occasionally appear both dependent and hostile.
  • It can take time to see your emotions as valid, real and acceptable.

Some Take Away Points

Here are some key points that may be useful:

  • Even if you don't have a BPD diagnosis, if you relate to some of the symptoms it may be worth getting help.
  • Even without a formal diagnosis your feelings can be painful and valid. 
  • Recovery can be discomforting and difficult, but it is not impossible.
  • It may take time to find the right therapy, therapist, or service.
  • While lots of therapist are knowledgeable about BPD, many aren't. Some definitely are not.
  • The most important thing is that your therapist helps you understand your world without interpreting. And that they give you actionable advice to help you manage anxious situations. A good therapist should always remains hopeful about your ability to feel better.
  • BPD is common. Around one in twenty people in the UK have a personality disorder. You are not alone. 

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We're here for you

Do look around the Peterborough area to see what therapies are available and try to find ones you think might be appropriate to you. 

Read the NHS and Mind pages above and know what to expect. 

Only work with a therapist you feel comfortable and happy with.

If you'd like to schedule a session with us, feel free to call or email. During your first session, you can share a bit about what's troubling you and I can answer any questions you might have. We'll discuss your goals and my approach and assess whether we are the right fit for each other. To schedule your first appointment, call ​01733 639 040 email I'm here for you.