Prevention and Intervention for Borderline Personality Disorder

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 17, 2018
Quick Bites

  • There is no known way to prevent borderline personality disorder
  • BPD has been shown to respond to intervention
  • Psychotherapy is a key part of the treatment of BPD
  • There is no single medication that helps borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental disorder, associated with substantial psychosocial damage and gloom, disproportionate use of health resources, a high suicide rate, and a reputation for being “untreatable”. It is characterized by poor self-image, a feeling of emptiness, and great difficulty coping with being alone.

The diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is made only when a person has had many of these symptoms, they are severe in degree, and they are long-lasting.

  • Unstable, intense and difficult relationships
  • Poor self-image.
  • Self-destructive, impulsive behaviour.
  • Suicidal threats or attempts.
  • Self-mutilation.
  • Extreme mood reactions, including intense, inappropriate anger.
  • Feeling empty or alone.
  • Fear of abandonment.
  • Short-lived psychotic-like distortions of perception or belief, especially under stress.

Preventing BPD

There is no known way to prevent borderline personality disorder. Once identified, treatment is likely to better the chances of getting relief from the most painful aspects of the disorder.

Intervention for BPD

Bipolar Personality Disorder is often associated with seeking help, and it has been shown to respond to intervention even in those with an established disorder. Psychotherapy and medication are successful intervention techniques.


A key challenge in bipolar personality disorder is that a person may understand interpersonal problems or coping strategies on an intellectual level, but still find it very difficult to tolerate the emotional discomfort that is common in relationships, and to manage intense emotions more successfully.

One popular form of structured psychotherapy is called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). It tries to take the special problems of borderline personality disorder into account, using a combination of psychotherapy techniques, education, and both individual and group psychotherapy to support the patient's progress.

A second therapy, called schema-focused therapy tries to address maladaptive world views believed to originate in childhood and replace those "schemas" with a healthier one through a variety of cognitive therapy techniques.

Another method of psychotherapy is called "mentalization-based therapy" (MBT). It is based on the idea that people with this disorder have difficulty "mentalizing" or making sense of the emotions, feelings and beliefs of themselves and others. The therapist works to help a person develop more adaptive ways of thinking about emotion and expressing it.


As with psychotherapy, there is no single medication that is clearly helpful in borderline personality disorder. Instead, medication is usually used to treat symptoms as they emerge or to treat other disorders that may be present (such as a mood or anxiety disorder or a substance abuse problem).

Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used to treat depression and anxiety. There is also some evidence that this group of drugs reduce anger.

Because personality styles tend to become more established with age, it is best to seek treatment as soon as significant distress or poor functioning is noticed.

References are taken from

Read more articles on Borderline Personality Disorder.

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