Teen Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Treatment

Those with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have extremely negative, distorted views of themselves, characterized by low feelings of self-worth. This leads to problems creating and maintaining relationships with others. Though their beliefs and behaviors stem from feelings of inadequacy, teens with BPD may offend and ostracize others or make inappropriate comments while exerting moodiness, and experiencing occasional outbursts of anger.

Here at Paradigm Treatment, we offer services for borderline personality disorder in teens. We understand that mental health disorders such as BPD can be incredibly difficult to handle, especially for young people. Thankfully, our compassionate treatment team is here to help young people with mental health conditions.

“The best place for adolescents seeking treatment. Some of the best staff I have ever encountered. It is very structured which I feel is important to the success of recovery in minors.” – Rose Mary (Google review)

BPD Symptoms: What Does Borderline Personality Disorder Look Like in Teens and Young Adults?

Teens with borderline personality disorder may be aware of and feel guilt over the effects of their behavior on others. Yet they may be unable to change or behave differently on their own. The aftermath of their compulsive behavior and the resulting guilt can ultimately lead to even more negative feelings about themselves and even depression.

A teen with borderline personality disorder exhibits inflexible and maladaptive (destructive) personality traits, with chronically bad behavior leading to impairment in everyday life.

Some common BPD symptoms include the following:

  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Self-harm (such as cutting, etc.)
  • Inappropriate anger that is intense
  • Unstable relationships with family members
  • Intense and unstable relationships with friends
  • Impulsive behaviors that are often dangerous
  • Poor self-image or low self-esteem
  • Unstable sense of self-worth
  • Intense mood swings
  • Dissociation

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens

Borderline personality disorder symptoms can be misleading sometimes. This is especially the case when it comes to borderline personality disorder in teens. Some of the symptoms of this particular mental health condition can be seen as common or even normal for adolescents. For example, low self-esteem and mood swings are not necessarily out of the ordinary in the lives of young people who are growing older.

However, it is important to be aware that these behaviors and emotional changes combined may indicate the presence of something deeper than puberty. In many cases of borderline personality disorder in teens, self-harming behaviors can occur, in addition to severe depressive symptoms. Suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts can even occur. In such situations, emergency assistance is absolutely necessary.

In other instances of borderline personality disorder in teens, young people with this disorder may engage in impulsive behavior, such as reckless driving, unprotected sex, binge eating, and even substance use. This sort of behavior can result in the development of a substance use disorder, the spread of diseases, and much more.

If any of these symptoms of adolescent BPD occur, parents should begin seeking treatment right away. This can help prevent the continuance of self-harming behaviors, suicidal behaviors, and other harmful effects of this mental health condition.


Types of Borderline Personality Disorder

When it comes to diagnosing borderline personality disorder in teens, it is necessary to know the different types of BPD.

Discouraged Borderline Personality Disorder – This type of BPD is characterized by depression, a grave or serious demeanor, outbursts of anger, and reckless, harmful behavior. Individuals with discouraged BPD typically feel as though they are abandoned, so they tend to be “clingy” and dependent.

Impulsive Borderline Personality Disorder – This kind of BPD is characterized by risk-taking and thrill-seeking, flirtatiousness, extreme need and desire for attention, and dangerous and risky social behavior. People with impulsive BPD tend to have difficulty with impulsive control. They are typically at high risk for self-harm.

Petulant Borderline Personality Disorder – This type of BPD is characterized by difficulty maintaining relationships, moodiness and gloominess, fear of disappointing others, a bad temper, and anxiety and fear about being unloved. People who have petulant borderline personality disorder may be manipulative, controlling, or possessive.

Self-Destructive Borderline Personality Disorder – This kind of BPD is characterized by people turning their negative outlook about life onto themselves, carried out in punishing, harmful behaviors such as eating disorders, substance abuse, and other reckless behavior. Self-destructive, self-loathing, and self-harming behaviors typically occur in this particular type of BPD.

What Are The Causes Of Teen BPD?

It’s important to understand that personality disorders in general are quite rare. While they are triggered mostly by forms of stress, there is no way of concretely knowing whether a teen will develop a personality disorder in response to stress or not. It isn’t known what exactly in the brain causes borderline personality disorder in teens, but there are various risk factors that contribute to one happening:

Genetics – The biggest indication of a potential personality disorder is a family history of personality disorders, particularly if a close relative also struggled with BPD.

Trauma and abuse – A single highly traumatic event or series of events early on in a teen’s formative years can be severely psychologically scarring, creating deep-seated issues, and potentially leading to self-esteem issues, post-traumatic stress and anxiety, dissociation, and personality disorders. Childhood trauma can certainly contribute to the development of BPD and other mental health disorders.

Stress at home or in school – Chronic, unaddressed stress, relationship issues coming to a dramatic end, unstable and invalidating relationships and interpersonal conflict are a few possible forms of stress severe enough to incur a shift in personalities and result in BPD.

Understanding borderline personality disorder and the risk factors that can lead to developing borderline personality disorder can be helpful for parents. With this knowledge, parents can better understand when it’s time to contact a mental health professional.

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How Can I Help My Teen with Multiple Borderline Disorder?

Differentiate the person from the disease – A teen with borderline personality disorder struggles with interpersonal relationships, conversations, thoughts, and behavior. Portions of their personality may be based on irrational thinking and self-loathing, and it’s difficult to tell where your teen has gone when their behavior becomes unpredictable and nonsensical. But remind yourself that when they act out, it is because of a lack of inhibition, a string of maladaptive habits, and other related symptoms. Don’t take your anger and frustration out on them for behavior they cannot yet control – as difficult as that can be.

Be there and offer support – The most important thing a parent can do for a teen struggling with BPD is offer their support. Learn more about borderline personality disorder, speak with experts and professionals, seek out local resources and know what to do when symptoms of BPD evolve and worsen, and be prepared for arguments and anger. Try to remain calm, remind yourself of the days when the symptoms were not as strong, and work with therapists to help your teen understand what kind of behavior is appropriate and inappropriate, and how to recognize when their thoughts are being irrational and unfounded.

Be honest and appreciative – Being honest with your teen who has BPD is important, as is being appreciative when you recognize that they’ve done something you truly cherish, or if you just feel like letting them know that they’re loved and cherished. It’s difficult for someone with a borderline personality disorder to have any semblance of self-esteem and feel happy about themselves without being fraught by an intense fear of abandonment or feelings of alienation. By showing your teen that you genuinely and honestly care for them, they may feel more secure, even if only a little.

Get support for your teen  Early intervention and early treatment can make all the difference when dealing with mental health disorders. If you believe your child is showing signs of this mental health disorder, reach out to someone who can properly diagnose BPD and direct you to a professional who can treat BPD.

What Types of Teen Borderline Disorder Treatment Are Available?

Teen borderline personality disorder treatment involves addressing the mental and behavioral aspects of the illness. Often, therapists will use a combination of talk therapy and medication to help teens return to normal functioning.

Therapists will help teens recognize their thought patterns and behaviors, develop new reactions to stress and triggers that lead to these behaviors, and also address underlying causes or belief systems that interfere with their relationships. Lastly, therapists work with teens during teen borderline personality disorder treatment to repair and develop healthy relationships, as well as adapt their overall lifestyle.

In some instances, mental health professionals and therapists may prescribe medication in order to help a teen manage their most severe BPD symptoms. SSRIs, or antidepressants, are most often prescribed as they have a positive effect on teens with borderline personality disorder and have the least number of side effects.

Herbal supplements and other alternative medicines are usually avoided because these are not well-regulated and may lead to unknown side effects or have no effect at all. Anti-psychotic and atypical anti-psychotic medication may also be used if teens exhibit delusions.

The primary form of psychotherapy used to help teens with borderline personality disorder is dialectical behavior therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, specializes in helping teens better deal with their behavior in a social context.

Focusing heavily on psychosocial therapy, DBT teaches teens to recognize when their thoughts and behavior are being irrationally influenced by emotionally-charged environments, including home or school contexts, from the classroom to the locker room to the living room.

Through DBT and other cognitive behavioral therapies, therapists focus on helping teens with borderline personality disorder better figure out how their mind works, and how they can prevent themselves from reacting drastically in the face of their own overwhelming internal pressures, and external triggers.

Other therapies include transference-focused psychotherapy (learning to judge individuals better, discerning a person’s qualities as good and bad rather than painting them as all good and all bad), and mentalization-based treatment (teaching patients how to develop more accurate pictures of themselves and others).

Mindfulness training, meditation, exercise therapy, art therapy, and animal-assisted therapy are just a few of the many different therapeutic treatments that can be used to help address some of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, soothing a teen’s anxieties, helping them deal with their self-esteem issues, and giving them a better headspace with which to confront their thoughts and emotions.

Teen Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment at Paradigm

Paradigm Treatment has several treatment spots throughout the Malibu area, each designed to provide a space for psychological healing within a small, but social context. Treatment providers and therapists at Paradigm Treatment work hard to provide individualized treatment programs for each teen and to help teens communicate and cooperate in a healthier way.

Through one-on-one therapy sessions, group therapy, classroom-style orientation and lessons, and group activities, Paradigm Treatment aims to create an environment conducive to helping teens get better.

The social aspect of teen borderline personality disorder treatment cannot be understated – learning to properly communicate with others and associate with them in a healthy way while maintaining a healthy sense of self can be a great challenge to someone with a borderline personality disorder. But throughout the process, teens will learn how to navigate their behavior and differentiate between rational and irrational thinking, and better manage their BPD.

Here at Paradigm Treatment, we help teens who are struggling with borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and many other mental health conditions. We strive to empower young people who are living with mental health challenges and provide support for their family members.

Our facility offers effective treatment to ensure the mental and emotional health of our residents. Call us today to learn more about how our comprehensive treatment plan can assist your child.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Borderline Personality Disorder

Like treatment for many mental health problems, the timeline and process differ for every teen.  The central goals of therapy are to help you get back to a place of normal and healthy interaction with others so that your outbursts and previously uncontrolled behaviors are no longer causing harm to relationships and are no longer impairing your ability to uphold your responsibilities at school or at home.

It may take a while for you to get there, and even when you can relate and engage functionally, you still may have to resist urges and old habits.  With that said, what’s true for almost all treatments is also true for BPD: the sooner you start, the better.

What may seem as obviously irrational and nonsensical thinking to most is not immediately viewed as flawed or wrong by the beholder. We are all ultimately only aware of our own reality, and while we can empathize with others, we don’t know what it’s like to feel, think, or be like someone else.

In the same vein, a person with a borderline personality disorder will not know that how they feel, and think is atypical, maladaptive, or potentially destructive, until someone sits down with them and explains it all thoroughly.

There is such a thing as right thinking and wrong thinking, but it’s got little to do with subjective experience, and more to do with discerning between opinion and reality. A person with a borderline personality disorder exhibits behavior that is crass or potentially dangerous especially in social contexts because of a flawed understanding of self and others – but that’s not immediately clear, and it takes a while to realize that life is not all black and white and that you as an individual are valuable and can be secure with yourself.

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