Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

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If you've always struggled with emotions that seem "too much" for the situation, you may be dealing with an illness like borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is characterized by dramatic and emotional moods. Most people who struggle with it also display attention-seeking behavior.

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment at UVA Health

Borderline personality disorder can be difficult to diagnose. It almost always coexists with at least one other mental health problems like:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating disorders
  • Impulse disorders

While no cure exists for borderline personality disorder, treatment can help manage the symptoms.

Diagnosis is based on history and observation. Because the symptoms can be disruptive, most people are diagnosed when they're young adults. 

Most treatment plans for borderline personality disorder combine several treatment options. This helps manage the symptoms while building coping strategies.


Therapy can occur in individual, group, or family settings. Some people use all three. With therapy, it becomes easier to:

  • Recognize unhealthy behaviors
  • Improve emotional understanding 
  • Develop resources to deal with impulsive desires
  • Find ways of relating to family that are mutually healthy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the specific type of therapy that helps you recognize patterns of thinking that need to change. You'll also learn how your emotions are tied to your body. 


Depending on other difficulties you're facing, your doctor may prescribe medication. While there is no one medication to treat borderline personality disorder, you can treat any coexisting conditions. There are also medications that can help make your moods more stable. 

Symptoms of BPD

Borderline personality disorder can manifest in many different ways. Some of the more common include:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Fear of rejection
  • Lack of strong personal identity 
  • Self-injury
  • Impulsive behavior like gambling, risky sex, drug and alcohol abuse
  • Uncontrollable emotions (particularly anger)
  • Unstable relationships
  • Blaming others for behavior

Many other mental health illnesses share some of these symptoms. Also, many of these, like fear of rejection, can be part of a normal emotional response. But if any of these symptoms are interfering with your life, scheduling an appointment for diagnosis is the first step to getting the right treatment.