According to the National Institute of Mental Health: “Borderline personality disorder is an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships.”
Teens with borderline personality disorder may experience an intense fear of abandonment or instability. They may also have difficulty spending time alone, but their impulsive actions and mood swings push others away. Borderline personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood, and while it can seem to be worse during early adulthood it may gradually get better with age.
Signs and symptoms of BPD may include:
- A pattern of unsuitable and intense relationships
- Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that includes shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all.
- Periods of stress-related paranoia or loss of contact with reality
- Impulsive and risky behavior
- Suicidal threats or behavior or self injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection.
- Mood swings which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame, or anxiety
- Ongoing feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate or intense anger
If you are concerned that your child is showing signs of borderline personality disorder, the first step is to meet with a mental health professional. A clinician will be able to provide a formal diagnosis for your teen as well as create a treatment plan. Treatment can help teens learn skills to manage their condition. A mental health professional may also suggest seeking treatment for any other mental health disorders that often occur in tandem with borderline personality disorder such as depression or substance abuse.
Psychotherapy is a fundamental treatment approach for borderline personality disorder. The goals of psychotherapy are to help teens learn to manage emotions that feel uncomfortable, reduce impulsivity, work on improving relationships, and learn about borderline personality disorder. One type of psychotherapy is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT includes group and individual therapy designed specifically to treat borderline personality disorder. DBT uses a skills-based approach to teach teens how to manage their emotions, tolerate distress and improve relationships.
Learning to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors takes time. There may be times when their symptoms are better or worse, but treatment can improve their ability to function and helps teens feel better about themselves. There may be a time when your teen needs more intensive care, and a residential treatment center can provide the medical and emotional support they need.
Solstice RTC Can Help
Our goal is to equip our students with the tools needed to lead happy, successful lives. We provide a nurturing and welcoming environment for teenage students, and help them recognize that they are on the cusp of something wonderful: the chance to heal from their past and become the best version of themselves.
Our therapy for teens acknowledges the fact that to create lasting, effective change, a holistic approach to health is necessary. This fact underlies and drives all the components of the Solstice program. Solstice RTC is committed to hiring the most qualified, professional, caring staff that is dedicated to helping the students we serve. Our staff also undergoes specific, regular training to continue their own personal and professional development which is essential to the life-creating work we do. For more information, contact us today at (866) 278-3345.