What treatment should I be offered for borderline personality disorder?

What treatment should I be offered for borderline personality disorder?

Some treatments may not be suitable for you, depending on your exact circumstances. If you have questions about specific treatments and options, please talk to a member of your healthcare team.

Psychological treatment

If borderline personality disorder causes you many problems, or you have other conditions, you may be offered a psychological treatment in a special programme usually run by a team of people. This will be based on an approach that you, the therapist and the team agree to in advance. The treatment should be properly structured as described in the NICE guideline. How often you have sessions will depend on your needs and how you live your life. Psychological treatment lasting about a year or longer is best for people with borderline personality disorder.

Your healthcare professional should offer you written information about the treatment and how it can help you. They should also offer to discuss the information with you and talk about how helpful other psychological treatments are in treating borderline personality disorder and other conditions. People with reading difficulties should be given the information in another format, such as video or DVD.

Women with borderline personality disorder who self-harm on a regular basis may be offered a treatment called dialectical behaviour therapy.

Your care team should check periodically that the psychological treatment is helping your symptoms and helping you in different areas of your life.

Should I be offered medication?

You should not usually be offered medication specifically to treat borderline personality disorder or for any related symptoms or behaviour (such as self-harm, unstable moods and risky behaviour). This includes a type of medication called an antipsychotic as a long-term treatment.

However, you may be offered medication called a sedative for a short time (no longer than a week) to help you in a crisis (see What should happen in a crisis?). You may also be offered medication to treat another mental health problem (see Can I have treatment for other conditions?).

If you are offered medication for any reason, your healthcare professional should offer you written information about the effect it will have on your symptoms and any side effects. It should also be explained to you why the medication may be helpful for you at this time. Your healthcare professional should also offer to discuss the medication with you further. People with reading difficulties should be given the information in another format, such as a video or DVD.

If you are currently taking medication but do not have another condition (either a physical or a mental health problem), this treatment should be reviewed by your healthcare professional and stopped if necessary.

Questions about treatment

  • Why have you offered me this type of treatment?

  • What are the pros and cons of having this treatment?

  • Please tell me what the treatment will involve.

  • How will the treatment help me? What effect will it have on my symptoms and everyday life? What sort of improvements might
    I expect?

  • How long will it take to have an effect?

  • Are there any risks associated with this treatment?

  • What are my options for treatments other than the recommended treatment?

  • What will happen if I choose not to have the recommended treatment?

  • Is there some written material (like a leaflet) about the treatment that I can have?