How Is Emerging BPD Treated in Teens?
It’s important to know that BPD is treatable. It is possible for teens and their families to find relief after an accurate diagnosis has been made and the patient is engaged in evidence-based treatment.
There are two therapies proven to be helpful for young people living with borderline personality disorder: dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and general psychiatric management (GPM).
Dialectical Behavior Therapy
DBT is a popular treatment option for BPD. This highly effective therapy targets self-harm and suicidal behavior. It addresses destructive behavior, such as substance misuse.
During sessions, therapists work with teens to break down behaviors. Then, they give teens the skills they need to handle difficult situations and emotional circumstances.
Dialectical behavior therapy emphasizes four separate skills sets:
- Emotion regulation
- Interpersonal effectiveness
- Distress tolerance
DBT is often combined with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to help teens maximize each treatment session. Teens can better control their emotions, stop self-destructive behaviors, and have an easier time managing their feelings.
In DBT sessions, teens learn how to:
- Be non-judgmental about their own experiences and those of others
- Increase positive experiences
- Manage overwhelming emotions that prevent them from taking control of their lives
- Communicate effectively with others
- Accept situations they have no control over
General Psychiatric Management
GPM combines key components of other treatment types to provide care to patients even if specialized or more resource-intensive treatments are not available. Studies have shown that GPM can be as effective as DBT in treating BPD.
GPM for adolescents (GPM-A) is the same treatment method but adapted for young people. It focuses on providing young patients with the life-building skills needed to understand and effectively manage their condition. These skills help patients focus on the idea that they aren’t just a patient, but instead, are still living a full life outside of treatment.
Kids and teens with BPD who engage in GPM-A treatment can develop non-reactive critical thinking skills, discover what they are good at, and learn how to view their experiences in a healthier manner.
Even though DBT and GPM can be highly effective, they are not appropriate for every patient. In addition, neither of these treatments are more effective than the other. Your mental health care provider can help you decide which method of treatment is right for you.
Your treatment team may suggest other forms of therapy that they believe may be most effective in relieving symptoms and helping that patient lead a better life. It is always important to do your own research and ensure that the type of therapy suggested is backed by research and performed by a licensed mental health professional.
How You Can Find the Right Therapist for BPD Treatment
Every person is different, and it’s important to customize a treatment plan to meet the needs of the individual. Teens and their families need to find the right therapist. A qualified, licensed professional can make a great difference in someone’s recovery.
Therapy is a safe space where teens can start to work through their relationship and trust issues. They can also experiment with coping techniques.
Before families decide on a therapist, it’s important to sit down with them first. Many teens find it helpful to interview the therapist to make sure they communicate well with one another.
A therapist could be highly qualified, but may still not be the best fit. Ultimately, in addition to a therapist’s qualifications, the relationship between a therapist and patient is incredibly important.
Can Medication Be Used to Treat BPD?
Even though some patients with borderline personality disorder take medication to help with symptom management, the FDA has not approved any medications specifically for the treatment of BPD.
It is common for people who have BPD to take medication to help reduce their symptoms or to help manage other disorders or symptoms, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or psychosis.
While medication can be helpful, individual and group therapy using DBT or GPM is the most effective treatment option for those who have been diagnosed with BPD.
How Families Can Be Involved in BPD Treatment
Teens need a strong emotional support structure as they go through treatment. Family members are encouraged to be involved during the treatment process.
Parental involvement can lead to improved outcomes, including better family functioning overall, which helps increase family participation in treatment. When parents and siblings are a part of treatment, everyone can benefit.
When teens feel their family members are supportive of them, they may be more open about seeking treatment or being active in treatment.
Many families struggle to understand the behaviors and symptoms of loved ones who have been diagnosed with BPD. Some families find it difficult to acknowledge that teens are experiencing an actual mental health condition. When someone has BPD, it can affect how the family functions. Furthermore, unhealthy family dynamics can worsen a person’s BPD symptoms.
Family therapy can help everyone better understand this condition and learn how to cope with it. It teaches family members to identify cycles of negative reinforcement or difficulty with managing diagnoses and how to break from them. This can improve the prognosis of the person who has been diagnosed with BPD.
Help Is Available!
Borderline personality disorder is a serious condition that can impact children and teens. It’s important for anyone who has been diagnosed with BPD to understand they are not alone.
If you think you or someone you care about may have BPD, it’s important to seek help as quickly as possible. With access to the right treatment method and a trained therapist, people with BPD can have satisfying relationships, a strong sense of self-worth, and lead meaningful lives.
Do you know a teen who needs help managing their mental health? McLean offers world-class care for teens and adults struggling with BPD. Call us today at 877.372.3068 to learn more about treatment options.