Borderline Personality Disorder: Living With It

Living With Borderline Personality Disorder

Some people with BPD experience severe symptoms and require intensive, often inpatient, care. Others may use some outpatient treatments but never need hospitalization or emergency care. Some people who develop this disorder may improve without any treatment.

How can I help a friend or relative who has BPD?

If you know someone who has BPD, it affects you, too. The first and most important thing you can do is help your friend or relative get the right diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment and go with your friend or relative to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment or to seek different treatment if symptoms do not appear to improve with the current treatment.

To help a friend or relative you can:

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement—change can be difficult and frightening to people with BPD, but it is possible for them to get better over time
  • Learn about mental disorders, including BPD, so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing
  • With permission from your friend or relative, talk with his or her therapist to learn about therapies that may involve family members, such as DBT-FST

Never ignore comments about someone's intent or plan to harm himself or herself or someone else. Report such comments to the person's therapist or doctor. In urgent or potentially life-threatening situations, you may need to call the police.

How can I help myself if I have BPD?

Taking that first step to help yourself may be hard. It is important to realize that, although it may take some time, you can get better with treatment.

To help yourself:

  • Talk to your doctor about treatment options and stick with treatment

  • Try to maintain a stable schedule of meals and sleep times

  • Engage in mild activity or exercise to help reduce stress

  • Set realistic goals for yourself

  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can, as you can

  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or family member

  • Tell others about events or situations that may trigger symptoms

  • Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately

  • Identify and seek out comforting situations, places, and people

  • Continue to educate yourself about this disorder