What’s the recipe to good management of BPD?
One of the myths about BPD is that it is untreatable, but the latest research shows evidence-based treatments are highly effective and improving.
Awareness of mental health issues and receiving the correct diagnosis allows beginning the process to seek appropriate information and support. From here on, greater insight into BPD leads to understanding the origins of thoughts and behaviours, being aware of these functions, having the ability to communicate these inner thoughts and feelings and request for help, and eventually having the confidence to appropriately respond in an emotionally regulated manner.
The most important component to learning to cope well with BPD symptoms is identifying the issues and the active willingness to change unwanted behavioural responses. Evidence shows that the desire for meaningful roles, education and work, and the motivation to not be defeated by the disorder are key to recovery. Engaging in focused routine activities such as completing daily tasks, education, developing a career, attending therapy, and engaging in physical activity or meditation, can help change and provide a sense of achievement and completeness.
Family, friend, and carer support
BPD is a disorder that impacts on interpersonal relationships and a supportive network of family, friends, and carers is highly beneficial to the recovery of the individual experiencing BPD symptoms. Misinterpretations of behavioural responses from the support network can worsen the stigma felt by the individual suffering from BPD and their perception of self. Research suggests that it is necessary for loved ones of people with BPD to also be educated on the disorder and appropriate coping strategies so that behaviours are understood and the individual can be well-supported to practice positive thinking patterns.
Depending on whether there are co-occurring mental illnesses, an expert team of collaborating psychiatrists, psychologists and carers may be required to tailor a combined strategy involving psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. As evidence shows that effective treatment of BPD requires continuous psychotherapy for at least 12 months, it is very important that there is a trusting and healthy patient-therapist relationship as health professionals not only guide therapy but also relied on as part of support network, especially during crises.
Proven therapies effective for BPD treatment such as Dialectical Behavioural Therapy involve working through thought practices and mindful activities so that such strategies can be utilised in distressing situations.
FYY Ng, ME Bourke, and BFS Grenyer, ‘ Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder: A Systematic Review of the Perspectives of Consumers, Clinicians, Family and Carers’, vol. 11, no. 8, pp. e0160515.