Proper Treatments and Medications for Borderline Personality Disorder
It is not easy living with borderline personality disorder. That is why, once you are diagnosed with this disorder, you need to start the treatments right away. Every case is different. Some people might need Borderline Personality Disorder medication. In other cases, drugs are not prescribed and the patients can get better with other type of treatments. And truthfully, many doctors prefer to treat BPD patients with behavioral therapy instead of medication. But what is the reason for this? Is it because medication is less effective? Actually, the effectiveness of each treatment will depend on the severity of each case. You will need to consult to your doctors and they will decide which treatment will be more beneficial for your case.
Medications Used to Treat Borderline Personality Disorder
It is true that medication is rarely used to treat BPD. This is because drugs are not a cure for BPD. Medication doesn’t address the core problems. It is only used to help managing and reducing the burden of the symptoms and effects of this disorder. There are debates among experts whether medication is an effective treatment for BPD or not. In fact, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has stated that people with BPD or people who show similar symptoms should not be treated by medication. Drugs should not be used as long term treatment and it should only be used if the patients show symptoms of co-occurring disorders such as depression.
But regardless of the debate, drugs are still used because it helps the patients to some extent, especially to manage a crisis. There are two types of Borderline Personality Disorder medication commonly used to treat the patients. Those two drugs are antipsychotic medication and mood stabilizing drugs.
- Antipsychotic Medication
Antipsychotic medication is commonly used to manage some symptoms of BPD, especially those related with aggression and impulsiveness trait of this disorder. In high dosage, antipsychotic medication is commonly used to treat schizophrenia. You need to remember that until this very day, drug treatment is never meant to cure BPD because it has some uncomfortable side effects. Many patients stated that consuming antipsychotic medication indeed lessen their BPD symptoms. But it is because they feel weak and detached from their usual self. This is commonly happened when you are taking drugs for mental disorders. This is because the substance in the drugs will influence the work of your brain as well as some hormones such as dopamine and serotonin. This is the one that cause emptiness and detached feelings after taking medication. And this is also why antipsychotic medication shouldn’t be used for long term treatment for BPD patients.
- Mood Stabilizing Drugs
This is another effective Borderline Personality Disorder medication. Mood stabilizing drugs are also used to manage manic episodes of bipolar disorder. This is because some of borderline personality disorder symptoms, such as anger, impulsive behavior and aggressiveness have the same pattern with manic episodes of bipolar disorder. This medication works by influencing the temporal lobe of the brain. That is the area where your mood and emotion is processed. You will find it easier to control your anger and your impulsive behavior after consuming this drug. But unfortunately, this drug is only effective to stabilize your mood for a while. There has not been any research that proves its effectiveness to treat other symptoms and traits of BPD such as paranoia and sleep deprivation.
Side Effects of Drug Treatments
Borderline Personality Disorder medication is not without side effects. Medication, no matter what it is, will influence your body function in some ways. And because mental disorder medication directly influences your brain, some discomforts are to be expected. In fact, many patients and doctors are reluctant to continue this treatment because of these commonly occurred side effects:
- Typical antipsychotic drugs often caused unwanted drowsiness and hormonal changes. In women, these hormonal problems often caused unexpected or irregular menstrual cycle. Sometimes, this type of drug can also cause muscle twitching. But this side effect is very uncommon.
- Second generation antipsychotic drugs such as aripiprazole and zotepine can cause long term side effect such as weight gain. It can also affect your sex life negatively and cause weakness and drowsiness.
- Lithium is a drug in mood stabilizer class. It is effective to treat mood disorder, but it has some pretty nasty side effects. It can cause drowsiness, weight gain, and if the lithium level in our blood is too high, it can also make your vision blur.
- Other drugs in mood stabilizer class such as carbamazine, valporate semisodium, and sodium valproate can make you feeling nauseated and cause stomach discomfort.
Other Treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder
Doctors have agreed that Borderline Personality Disorder medication should not be used for long term treatment. It is not only because of the side effects, but also because medication doesn’t address the real problems. Various studies have shown that there are better treatments to treat and manage BPD symptoms and traits. Here are some of those treatments.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
This therapy can be done individually or in a group setting. The goal of this therapy is to let the patients get back their focus so they can focus on what’s good in their life instead of on what’s disturbing them. After this therapy, the patients will learn to rebuild their relationship and repress their destructive behavior.
- Schema-focused Therapy
In this therapy, the patients will be asked to recall their life experiences and find out which personal experiences trigger their destructive behavior. The cause of BPD is still unknown, but it is believed that childhood trauma or unpleasant past experiences are the main cause of this disorder. This therapy will persuade the patients to get over that hurtful experiences and focus to rebalance their current life.
Beside Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and schema-focused therapy, there are still other form of talk therapy that have been proven to be more effective compared to medication. Therefore, it is best to engage in behavioral therapy to treat BPD before resorting to Borderline Personality Disorder medication.