While there is no known medication that can target Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) on its own, prescription medications can address many of the common symptoms of BPD.
Medications typically used in the treatment of BPD include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety drugs, and antipsychotics. A combination of therapy and medication can improve your quality of life if you are living with BPD. Two of the therapies used in the treatment of BPD include Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Mentalization-based Therapy (MBT).
Antidepressants Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
A variety of antidepressants have been studied for use in treating the low moods, sadness, and depression that can occur with BPD, including the following:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
Mood Stabilizers Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Medications with mood-stabilizing properties, such as lithium and some anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) medications, can help address the impulsive behavior and rapid emotional changes associated with BPD.
Mood stabilizers used to treat the symptoms of BPD may include:
- Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
- Lithium carbonate (Lithobid)
- Lamotrigine (Lamictal)
Anti-anxiety Medications Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) medications can help with the intense anxiety some people with BPD may experience. However, there isn’t much research that supports the use of anti-anxiety drugs to treat BPD. Some research actually indicates that one class of anti-anxiety drug — benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan, Klonopin) — may actually worsen BPD symptoms for some people.
Examples of anti-anxiety medications used to treat the symptoms of BPD include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Buspirone (Buspar)
Antipsychotic Medications Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Antipsychotic medications can help address occasional breaks from reality as well as the paranoia, anger, or hostility that people with BPD may experience.
Some antipsychotics used to treat BPD include:
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Risperidone (Risperdal)
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Haloperidol (Haldol)
- Paliperidone (Invega)
Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment
Taking medications may benefit people with BPD by alleviating the irritability, anger, aggressiveness, and emotional instability they experience.
However, there is also the possibility that medications can cause problems of their own. For instance, people with BPD who are taking multiple medications to treat their various symptoms may suffer more side effects as a result.
Since 70 percent of people with BPD will attempt suicide, medication should always be taken under the supervision of a medical professional to lower the risk of overdose.
Appropriate medications are best used in conjunction with talk therapy for the most effective BPD treatment. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), which helps people regain emotional stability and improve impulse control, is one of the most effective psychotherapy modalities used in the treatment of BPD.