In most instances, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) treatment is confined to the hours you spend with your therapist or enrolled in a BPD treatment center. For people who spend time at a residential treatment center for BPD, the 24-hour support and structure can vastly improve BPD symptoms and provide a solid foundation for recovery.
But what happens after you go home, and that constant support is gone? In response to a need for ongoing care on a more full-time basis than periodic therapy, day treatment, or outpatient treatment can provide on their own, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) was developed.
What Is ACT?
Assertive Community Treatment is an all-encompassing type of treatment that occurs 24 hours a day, seven days a week to build a community around your BPD treatment that provides you a framework of support you wouldn’t otherwise have. ACT, developed in the 1970s, provides continuous support by involving the assistance of psychiatrists, BPD treatment professionals, doctors, other caregivers, social workers, friends, family, and coworkers.
For people with Borderline Personality Disorder or other personality disorders, Assertive Community Treatment works to improve quality of life, manage symptoms, and help you to become a functional, sociable adult who can live your own life on your own terms without the burden of a personality disorder. ACT, which is an evidence-based treatment, does this by:
- Providing continuous care that can help prevent you from relapsing into old destructive behaviors.
- Bringing in a full team of caregivers and having them all work together toward the common goal of helping you succeed.
- Offering education on life and coping skills to you as well as your friends and family, helping make them part of the “community” that is so vital to Assertive Community Treatment.
- Offering individualized treatment that encompasses help from friends, family members, caregivers, and other members of the community to give you the support you need, when you need, and in a way that works for you.
- For people with a dual diagnosis, providing effective substance abuse treatment that includes group therapy.
- Providing support for employment and educational opportunities.
- Encouraging involvement in your community.
ACT goes beyond traditional BPD treatment by providing services in your home, office, and other places you frequent in your neighborhood, giving you a strong support foundation that will, hopefully, help you learn to cope with your BPD symptoms, manage them, and have a productive and happy life in spite of them.
Who Is ACT For?
Assertive Community Treatment is most effective when it comes to treating people with severe and persistent personality disorders or other psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. It is generally used for people who are unwilling to participate in outpatient treatment, or who haven’t benefitted from outpatient treatment.
People who receive ACT typically have more than just a mental health issue. They often struggle with substance abuse, legal problems, or homelessness, and can benefit greatly from a supportive community environment.