Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Program

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Program

Authored by Defining Wellness    Reviewed by Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis    Last Updated: September 20th, 2021

Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis Medical Reviewer
Dr. John Elgin Wilkaitis completed medical school at The University of Mississippi Medical Center and residency in general psychiatry in 2003. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 2005. Following this, he served as Chief Medical Officer for 10 years of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare a private health system including a 105-bed hospital, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient services.

The mental health disorder known as borderline personality disorder, or BPD, impacts the way you feel and think about yourself as well as others. It causes problems in normal, daily life functions.

What is BPD?

The disorder includes issues with self-image, difficulty managing behavior and emotions, and often spans a pattern of relationships that are unstable. This disorder features an intense fear of being abandoned as well as of instability. If you have this disorder, you may find being alone difficult to tolerate; this is exacerbated by pushing people away with inappropriate anger, frequent mood swings, and impulsiveness despite a desire to be in lasting, loving relationships.

What Types of BPD are There?

According to Theodore Millon in his book ‘Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond’, borderline personality disorder has four distinct subtypes. They are:

  • Discouraged Borderline: this subtype strongly resembles codependence; if you have discouraged borderline personality disorder, you tend to be clingy, dejected, somber, and filled with anger and disappointment.
  • Impulsive Borderline: this subtype strongly resembles histrionic personality disorder; you are likely to be flirtatious, elusive, superficial, and captivating, with high energy and a desire to seek out thrills. Easily bored, you may find you act without thinking.
  • Petulant Borderline: being irritable, unpredictable, complaining, and impatient; if you are of this subtype, you may feel torn between reliance on people and maintaining distance for fear of disappointment. You may also swing wildly between unworthiness and anger.
  • Self-Destructive Borderline: this subtype has a constant inward sense of bitterness. If you are of this subtype, you tend to engage in behaviors that are either consciously or unconsciously self-destructive. Your self-hatred can be monumental, leading to behaviors that range from reckless driving to poor healthcare.

What are Observable Signs of BPD?

Bpd has nine distinct signs that can be observed in people who have it. You can detect these in yourself or others. They are:

  • Unclear, Shifting Self-Image: with BPD, an unstable sense of self leads to lacking a clear self-image and idea of what you want out of life. You may frequently change friends, jobs, lovers, values, or goals.
  • Unstable relationships: if you have BPD, you tend to have intense relationships that do not last long, given your rapid swings from emotional extremes.
  • Impulsive Behavior that is Self-Destructive: you may be prone to act rashly in unhealthy ways.
  • Fear of Abandonment: if you have BPD, you are often terrified of being left alone.
  • Self-harm: you may cut yourself or act out with suicidal behavior when you have BPD.
  • Chronic Sensations of Emptiness: if you have BPD, you may find yourself talking about feeling empty as if containing a void that you may try to fill with food, drugs, or sex.
  • Extreme Emotional Swings: unstable moods and emotions are a frequent indicator of BPD; if you have this disorder, you may swing from happiness to despondence in the span of a few moments.
  • Explosive Anger: a short temper and intense anger are also frequently found in people with BPD; if you have this disorder, you may have trouble with self-control once rage is incurred.
  • Suspicious Feelings of Being Out of Touch with Reality: if you have BPD, you may find yourself paranoid or suspicious about others’ motives.

How to Know If You Might Have BPD

Determining if you have BPD requires a certain amount of self-reflection. Asking trusted loved ones for observations can also be helpful. If you exhibit the symptoms of one of the subtypes of BPD, or if you go through the list of symptoms and recognize many of your own traits and negative aspects of your mental health and life, you may well have BPD. BPD also often is a co-occuring disorder; this means that you may have both BPD and addiction.

What Causes BPD?

Despite the numerous studies and multitudes of articles on BPD, there is no clear reason why some experience the difficulties associated with this disorder while others do not. While more women are diagnosed with this disorder than men, BPD can be found in people of all backgrounds and genders.

Thus far, BPD seems to be caused by a combination of traumatic or stressful life events and genetic factors. Experiences growing up that may contribute to BPD include family instability or difficulties, abuse or neglect, loss of a parent, or frequent feelings of fear and invalidation. Genetics may also contribute to your vulnerability to developing BPD, but generally, it is life events that trigger its symptoms.

Risks of Co-occurring Addiction Issues?

Addiction and BPD have a volatile relationship. Treating personality disorders and substance abuse is a delicate prospect. Usage of alcohol and drugs can aggravate rage and depression, two of the more dangerous aspects of BPD. If you have BPD, you have a greater likelihood of engaging in the consumption of drugs or alcohol to numb the symptoms. Substance abuse, in combination with BPD, can lead to self-harm behaviors like cutting. Co-occurring addiction issues may also lead to suicide attempts, particularly when combined with substance abuse.

Knowing When or If It Is Time to Seek Help for a Personality Disorder?

When your behavior puts yourself or others at risk, it is time to seek help. Explosive anger and tendencies to attempt suicide mean that you should look for assistance in treating your disorder. Dealing with past traumas can help to heal from the inside. You should particularly seek help if you suffer both BPD and addiction. Treating personality disorders and substance abuse is vital for stable mental and emotional health.

Treating Personality Disorders and Substance Abuse

Counseling, behavioral therapies, and medication-assisted treatment are all possibilities that can aid you in leading a normal life, and we offer all of these services and more here at Defining Wellness. Some medications that may be used include antipsychotic agents, antianxiety agents, and mood stabilizers. Therapy to address traumas, both past and present, is also an essential part of building a healthy mental landscape and lifestyle. Contact us when you are ready to pursue this health.

Family-owned and operated, Defining Wellness Centers is a true labor of love. My wife Robin and I, along with our children, are deeply passionate about wellness, mental health and addiction treatment.

We are a family, dedicated to helping other families. We created Defining Wellness with two central goals in mind: to share our love, understanding and compassion with clients and to utilize the best health and wellness modalities available today to treat addiction.

Our programs are built on a foundation of proven, evidence-based therapeutic techniques combined with cutting-edge bio-technological treatments, fitness and experiential learning. Our end goal is to provide the support and tools necessary for people become their best selves through emotional wellness and balance.