The Best Natural Ways to Treat Borderline Personality Disorder
Many people with mental health concerns have been stigmatized by labels and misconceptions. One of the most misunderstood mental health issues is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which is frequently mistaken for bipolar disorder. However, BPD is its own unique mental health condition.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is characterized by extreme shifts in mood and behavior. People with BPD may have periods of anger, anxiety or depression that last a few hours or days. BPD impacts the way a person thinks about themselves and others and often leads to a distorted self-image. The inappropriate emotional outbursts, impulsiveness and mood swings associated with BPD may negatively impact an individual’s education, career and relationships.
People with BPD have difficulties controlling their emotions. Their values and interests can change quite rapidly and without explanation. Those with BPD tend to have extreme views of people and situations, seeing them as all good or all bad. Since a friend one day may be considered an enemy the next, maintaining solid and consistent relationships can be a challenge for those with BPD.
Symptoms of BPD
Here are some of the main signs and symptoms of BPD:
• Difficulty trusting others, sometimes escalating to paranoia
• Periodically entering a dissociative state
• Recurring thoughts or threats of suicide
• Feelings of emptiness, isolation and boredom
• Intense anger followed by guilt and shame
• Self-harm, such as cutting
• Loss of interest in routine activities
• Seeks to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends and family
• Impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex and aggressive driving
• Unstable relationships; alternate between idealization and devaluation.
It’s not uncommon for individuals with BPD to exhibit signs of other mental health problems, such as mood and eating disorders. Many people with BPD turn to drugs and alcohol as a means of managing their symptoms, which, of course, will only exacerbate their problems.
Who Does It Affect?
BPD is very common; there are more than 3 million cases per year in the US. BPD can last several years or for a lifetime. Unlike ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), which are typically identified during the pre-teen years or earlier, BPD normally begins in the late teens or early 20s. Though 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women, many men with BPD are being misdiagnosed with depression and PTSD.
Even though there’s no known cause for BPD, there are several risk factors, including: family history and cognitive, environmental, and social factors. However, having these risk factors doesn’t mean that an individual will develop BPD.
How is BPD Treated?
Though traditionally difficult to treat, newer therapies have significantly improved the quality of life for those with BPD. Since BPD can occur alongside other symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and substance or eating disorders, it’s vital that individuals with BPD receive personalized, evidence-based care from a therapist specifically trained in treating BPD.
Treatments may vary for BPD patients, but the process often begins with medical exams and an in-depth discussion of a patient’s personal and family history. From there, the doctor may recommend psychotherapy and/or a medication. An example of psychotherapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which can help people with BPD change their unhealthy beliefs and behaviors to healthy ones and reduce the emotional extremes often associated with the disorder. Treatment for BPD is usually a long-term process.
BSD or BPD?
Bipolar Spectrum Disorder (BSD) and BPD are frequently confused conditions. Though their symptoms can be similar (mood swings, impulsiveness and outbursts), their diagnoses are completely different. BSD is identified by alternating periods of depression and mania. Those periods can last from a few days to several months.
By contrast, BPD is distinguished by a long-term pattern of frequently shifting moods and behaviors. These episodes are typically triggered by interactions with other people. People with BPD are more likely to have other mental health issues as well as some type of childhood trauma.
If you’re struggling with how to handle a family member with BPD, here are some practical strategies that can help:
Though it might feel like a natural response to the radical, emotional swings of BPD, don’t tiptoe around the person for fear of setting them off. Hiding your thoughts and feelings to avoid a confrontation isn’t healthy.
Feelings of hopelessness can lead to isolation. Force yourself to stay connected with your lifelines: family and friends. Frequent conversations with safe and trusted people can provide you with support, understanding and encouragement.
Focus on Emotions, Not Words
It’s easy to react to the angry words a BPD person is saying, but condition yourself to remain calm and focus on the emotions behind their statements. People with BPD need acknowledgement of their pain, not lengthy explanations regarding the appropriateness of their words.
Learn the 3 C’s
It’s normal to feel responsible for the frequent ups and downs that a BPD patient experiences. Learn to let yourself off the hook with these 3 C’s:
1. I didn’t cause it.
2. I can’t cure it.
3. I can’t control it.
Recovery is a process. It’s a marathon not a sprint, so pace yourself. Set realistic goals and expect occasional setbacks. Taking baby steps will give someone with BPD a greater chance at succeeding in the long run.
If you or a loved one are suffering from any of the symptoms associated with BPD, the Amen Clinics can provide you with further insights on the issues you are struggling with. Our comprehensive method encompasses integrative psychiatry, including brain SPECT imaging and labs, as well as natural ways to restore your brain, such as lifestyle recommendations and brain restorative supplements to provide you with a complete and customized treatment program.
If you would like to learn more about how Amen Clinics can help you or a loved one with Borderline Personality Disorder, contact us today at 888-288-9834 or schedule a visit with us online.