What help is available?
A number of effective treatment options are emerging to help BPD individuals and their families. Some of these options include:
Medication: Medications can be helpful in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, irritability and paranoid thoughts. Medications may also help improve emotional and impulse control, thereby reducing stress in marital or family relationships and making it easier to develop new interpersonal or stress management skills in psychotherapy.
Individual Psychotherapy: Often, psychotherapy is required to achieve lasting personality change. Short-term or brief therapy may be helpful in stabilizing immediate crises. Psychodynamic therapy helps make connections between early traumatic experiences and ways that learned behavior patterns are repeated in current relationships. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, especially a version of it known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy(DBT), has proven helpful in altering negative patterns of thinking, and in learning new behaviors and coping strategies.
Group Therapy: Group Therapy is often helpful in learning and practicing new interpersonal skills and increasing awareness of problematic interpersonal traits and behaviors.
Brief Hospitalization: Hospitalization may be necessary to ensure safety during suicidal crises or episodes of self-injury. Some hospitals offer brief intensive treatment programs for BPD.
Marital or Family Therapy: Marital Therapy can be helpful in stabilizing the marital relationship and in reducing marital conflict and stress that can worsen BPD symptoms. Family Therapy or Family Psychoeducation can help educate family members regarding BPD, improve family communication and problem solving, and provide support to family members in dealing with their loved one's illness.
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) can be excellent treatment providers for individuals and families who are struggling with the effects of BPD. MFTs are trained to recognize and treat BPD using many of the treatments described above. Because of their knowledge and expertise in family relationships, MFTs can help reduce the impact of BPD symptoms on family relationships, and improve overall marital and family functioning.