Can borderline personality disorder be improved with treatment?

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I didn't think that was likely, but a Mayo Clinic newsletter I got today says it can be treated via psychotherapy, sometimes supplemented with drugs. It is a long process (months or years) but it can teach the person to cope with the condition and function better in relationship.

I like this advice: "Don't blame yourself for the disorder, but recognize your responsibility to get it treated."

I'd never heard of the disorder before I joined here, where some people are coping with parents with this disease.

Do you know someone who is coping better with BPD through treatment?

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It is treatable using group therapy called Dialectical Therapy and individual therapy which must continue for the rest of their life, plus various meds. However, they must have enough self-awareness to seek such help and the enough desire to improve to stick with it. Not all do.
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There is a memoir called "Get Me Out of Here!" written by a woman who recovered from BPD. It really gives you insight into what life is like from the POV of someone with the disorder. She was young when diagnosed, though - different for sure from our elders.
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CM. I think that raising the awareness of the general public that lots of "bad behavior" is actually mental illness is a public service, and one that we provide on the message board every day! I think about the "Is it normal that she's so negative?" thread and a couple of others in which folks have grown up thinking that their parents are "normal".

BPD is heartbreaking, and really not lucrative at all for any therapists I'm aware of. BPD folks tend to quit therapy as soon as things get uncomfortable OR they get "fired" by their therapists for being non-compliant. For years, NO ONE wanted to treat them; I'm glad to hear that there is a treatment modality (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) that is showing some promise.
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Months or years at the Mayo Clinic… not to be cynical, but that sounds like a "promising" line of treatment could be extremely lucrative, don't you think?

It seems to me that resources are better devoted to immunising the rest of the population against the effects their BPD loved ones, friends, neighbours, coworkers and so on could have on them. I don't mean by ostracising people with BPD, but by raising the profile of the disorder so that techniques for establishing rational boundaries become more widely known about and practised.
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..."NOT treatable at all."
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Countrymouse, that is kind of what I thought -- poor to terrible prognosis. The Mayo site suggests it takes months or years and a very motivated client. I suppose that MAYBE if someone has lost 5 jobs in the last 4 years and has just been left by the spouse, MAYBE they could learn to function better if they really wanted to. But someone for whom it is working and they are happy with their life, and certainly someone past 60 or 70, why bother?

I just thought it was treatable at all (an idea I got out of a novel) so the Mayo article surprised me.

Very sad, isn't it?
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I asked my psychiatrist SIL what she could tell me about BPD and she said glumly "I know it has a very poor prognosis - why, who do you know who's got BPD?"

Short of "have you met your mother?" I couldn't think of a way to answer her question honestly so I just said it seemed to be coming up a lot in conversation, which was at least true. There's none so blind as those who will not see…

Reading more widely recently, I gather that mindfulness techniques have been used with some success in highly motivated individuals. But if you were a borderline, and that had pretty much got you your own way for seventy plus years, would you want to change? Most borderlines don't think there's anything wrong with them, and the ones who do and are made miserable by it don't believe they deserve any better.

It's a bit of a pig, is BPD.
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Hey Jeanne - daughter of psychotherapist here. Borderline personality disorder can be treated but (1) best with inpatient treatment-try affording that with today's insurance; (2) best with younger patients who can be made compliant with medication-try that with elder mixed with dementia; (3) patient has to want to change-most of these elders DON'T want to change. Most of the elders described on this site don't seek to get along better with others; their extended group of social contacts usually don't have the ability to force treatment/meds compliance; the elder gets their needs met with the behaviors that have always worked. The part that cares enough to work with other societal members is broken and psychotherapy takes YEARS to work. Part of the reason it appeals more to borderline folks is that it has a lot of basis in LISTENING to the patient and not really speaking as much. So the attention is fabulous for BPD. They usually do not successfully change; simply mirror the behaviors that get them the attention until doctor fires them when it quits working. And as we know, bad results are frequently not reported. I am glad when it works - but my experience is that many in psychology and psychiatry and psychotherapy have their own problems.
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Eyerishlass, that was my thought exactly. I know two people I think exhibit signs of BPD and neither one of them will go anywhere near a therapist.
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I know about BPD in theory and have known of a couple of people who have shown symptoms but I have no personal experience with it. But from what I understand, while a person with BPD can benefit from therapy the disorder itself can prevent someone from recognizing and/or admitting that there's a problem and getting them to or keeping them in therapy is a challenge.
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