If your child has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), you may feel like hope is lost. An official diagnosis of BPD can feel like a punitive sentence. No longer can your child’s behavior be explained as simply extreme expressions of adolescent angst or impulsivity. Instead, the behavior must be seen in the context of an “incurable” personality disorder.
If you find yourself facing this initial moment of diagnosis, don’t despair. Your child’s BPD diagnosis is truly the beginning of real progress. Only with an official BPD diagnosis can effective treatment begin.
Many people with Borderline Personality Disorder go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and will never learn the life skills, communication tools, and self-reflection techniques that can help them overcome the worst aspects of BPD. Remember that as scary as a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis can be, you still have an advantage through early intervention.
BPD Education Is Key
As you make an effort to educate yourself about Borderline Personality Disorder, you will begin to replace feelings of helplessness with feelings of empowerment. Your knowledge of BPD will be guiding your decisions about BPD treatment, as well as your own approach to parenting a child suffering from the disorder.
Educate yourself through BPD books, websites, workshops, and family support groups. Resources such as “Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents: A Complete Guide to Coping When Your Adolescent Has BPD” can be very helpful. In his book, Dr. Blaise Aguirre outlines the latest evidence-based treatments, including adolescent Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). He also provides information on effective communication techniques for parents and how to select a therapist.
Seek BPD Treatment
When you are seeking professional help in treating your child’s Borderline Personality Disorder, you want to be sure that your therapist is familiar with BPD and has worked with adolescents or young adults before. Be sure that you are familiar with the symptoms and various treatment options for BPD so you can discuss this with a prospective therapist.
Let them know that your child meets the criteria as outlined by the DSM IV and that you are seeking treatment specifically for BPD. Some therapists decline to label children under 18 as having personality disorders, since these diagnoses often carry a stigma. Find a therapist who is familiar with BPD and who has experience treating it.
Find BPD Support
Supporting a child with Borderline Personality Disorder can be emotionally exhausting, depressing, and frustrating. Remember that you are not the only parent to have faced this difficult situation. Others have weathered this storm and traveled the same difficult road to recovery that you are embarking on with your child. Find a BPD support group either online or in your area so that you can vent, share stories, and trade advice.
While it can be a helpless feeling to have a child who is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, know that all hope isn’t lost. Both you and your child can get the support and treatment you need for a full recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder.