There is a range of treatments that might help you if you experience BPD. On this page you can find information about:
Could I recover from BPD?
Yes – when you find a treatment that works for you, there is a very good chance you could recover. In the past, doctors thought that BPD couldn’t be treated, but new research has proved this wrong. A recent study showed that 85% of people who receive treatment don’t experience enough of the symptoms of BPD after 10 years to be given that diagnosis any more (although it won’t necessarily take you 10 years to get to this point).
However, it’s important to remember that recovery is a journey, and it won’t always be straightforward. You might find it more helpful to focus on learning more about yourself and developing ways to cope, rather than trying to get rid of every symptom of BPD.
Treatment for BPD usually involves some kind of talking treatment, depending on what is available in your area and what sort of treatment suits your needs.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the organisation that produces guidelines on best practice in health care – suggests that the following kinds of talking treatments could help:
- Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) – a treatment specifically developed for BPD. It uses individual and group therapy to help you learn skills to manage your emotions. (See our pages on DBT for more information.)
- Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT) – a long-term talking treatment which aims to improve your ability to recognise and understand your and other people’s mental states, and help you examine your thoughts about yourself and others to see if they’re valid. You can read more about MBT on the NHS Choices pages on BPD.
- Therapeutic communities – specially designed programmes where you work with a group of other people experiencing mental health problems to support each other to recover. Most therapeutic communities are residential, often in a large house, where you might stay for all or part of the week. Activities can include different types of individual or group therapy, as well as household chores and social activities. The Consortium for Therapeutic Communities provides a directory of therapeutic communities in the UK.
DBT is what has really helped me. I still take meds, but sometimes wish that I had known about DBT before I just said yes to pills.
You might also find other talking treatments can help you, for example:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – a treatment which aims to help you understand how your thoughts and beliefs affect your feelings and behaviour. In the therapy sessions you learn to replace negative thinking patterns with more positive ones. (See our pages on CBT for more information.)
- Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) – CAT combines CBT’s practical methods with a focus on the relationship between you and your therapist. This can help you reflect on how you relate to people, including yourself, and why these patterns have developed.
- Other talking therapies – you might find other talking treatments useful, such as psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy or arts therapy.
I have educated myself about emotions, I have learned from books, therapy, psychologists, friends. The most important thing is that it is never too late to learn.
How do I access talking treatments?
It’s important to be aware that NHS waiting lists for talking treatments can be long, and unfortunately in some parts of the country the treatment you want might not be available at all. Mind is actively campaigning to make sure that everyone who needs these treatments can access them within 28 days of referral. Find out more about about our ‘access to talking therapies’ campaign here.
There’s no drug specifically licensed to treat BPD, but your doctor might offer you psychiatric medication to help treat some of the problems you experience because of – or as well as – BPD, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, bipolar disorder, or PTSD. These might include:
Before you take any medication
Before you decide to take any medication, you should make sure you have all the facts you need to feel confident about your decision. For guidance on the basic information you might want to know about any drug before you take it, see our pages on:
Watch Lechelle and Debbie talk about how a combination of talking treatments, medication and self-care techniques have helped them develop skills to manage their BPD.
It began changing for me when one hospital suggested that there was a way forward, that I didn’t have to feel so broken forever. It wasn’t plain sailing from there, but just realising there was hope made my life easier. Realising that other people had recovered […] and gone on to achieve amazing things really inspired me.
This information was published in May 2015. We will revise it in 2018.