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Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental health condition marked by symptoms such as volatile moods and lack of a consistent or stable self-image. People struggling with the condition also frequently have additional tough mental health challenges. Treatment for borderline personality disorder typically includes dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

A dialectical behavior therapy program uses several techniques to improve control over the volatile, black-or-white emotional responses that often characterize BPD. At Promises Behavioral Health, we offer dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder led by expert clinicians. Contact us at 844.875.5609 to speak with someone from our experienced and knowledgeable staff about DBT therapy for borderline personality disorder and other evidence-based mental health treatment programs.

Understanding BPD

Borderline personality disorder does not sit “on the border” between other types of personality disorders, as its name might suggest. Instead, it is a distinct mental health disorder characterized by the following:

  • A distorted self-image
  • A pattern of impulsive, self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse and self-injury
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Explosive anger
  • Extreme emotions that can rapidly and unexpectedly change
  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • Unstable relationships

People struggling with borderline personality disorder often experience symptoms early in adulthood, and the mental health condition can be debilitating if left untreated. The chronic emotional instability associated with borderline personality disorder can make it challenging to maintain healthy personal relationships, succeed at work, or even take care of essential self-care.

Experts estimate that roughly 1.6% of all U.S. adults struggle with BPD. However, the actual percentage could be even higher since the condition often gets misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. No one knows why borderline personality disorder occurs, although the condition appears to have its roots in overlapping genetic, biological, social, and environmental factors.

Understanding Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

A typical BPD treatment program consists of DBT and prescribed medication. DBT is considered the gold standard when treating BPD. Research shows that DBT can help people struggling with BPD improve their emotional regulation skills and learn new coping mechanisms.

Prescribed medications can help treat BPD symptoms and include:

  • Antipsychotic medications to help relieve symptoms of paranoia
  • Mood stabilizers to help control impulsive behaviors
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression

Research also shows that DBT and medication, in combination, can help people struggling with BPD improve the quality of their lives.

Basics of DBT Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder

Unlike some other treatments, DBT was specifically developed to help people struggling with BPD. Clients meet with their therapists weekly in one-on-one sessions. They also attend weekly group sessions and receive over-the-phone coaching whenever necessary. There are four basic skills taught during DBT:

  • Mindfulness of what’s happening internally and externally in the present moment
  • An improved ability to tolerate stressful situations
  • An improved ability to take part in interpersonal interactions, and
  • An improved ability to regulate emotions

To provide the most effective treatment possible, therapists prioritize addressing BPD-related behaviors that could threaten your life or the lives of others. They also target behaviors that could interfere with the course of therapy and damage your general quality of life, in addition to encouraging the development of healthy replacement behaviors.

Studies have shown that DBT can help reduce risks for some of the most severe BPD symptoms, including dangerously impulsive behavior, self-harming behavior, and suicidal behavior. In addition, people who take part in DBT tend to stay in active treatment substantially more often than people who take part in other forms of psychotherapy.

Learn More About Promises Behavioral Health’s Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program

If you’re considering dialectical behavior therapy to help you better manage borderline personality disorder, know that the treatment can require a significant time commitment. It would help if you were prepared to participate in weekly one-on-one and group DBT sessions for several months, although the specific length of time may vary depending on your individual needs.

At Promises Behavioral Health, our dialectical behavior therapy program is offered in residential and outpatient formats to best suit your unique needs. Call 844.875.5609 to speak with one of our caring and compassionate staff about DBT therapy for borderline personality disorder or other evidence-based treatment programs for mental health.