If you are suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), you may experience a lessening of symptoms associated with the disorder as you get older. But don’t let this fool you into thinking that you can merely “grow out of” BPD.
Although there is sometimes a reduction of Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms as a person ages, it is dangerous to assume that you can just wait out the disorder and hope to get better.
Generally, the symptoms of BPD are worse in one’s early years and tend to decrease during the 30s and 40s. About half of people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder — who attain greater levels of stability in relationships while developing improved vocational functioning — stand a good chance of no longer meeting the full criteria that defines BPD by middle age.
A primary aspect of BPD is poor impulse control. Because people generally become less impulsive as they age, it may appear as if your Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms are improving. Additionally, older people with BPD may have learned how to control the manifestation of their symptoms through therapy.
Stability of Relationships
Another possible reason why people with Borderline Personality Disorder appear to get better as they age is because they have developed a pattern of avoiding situations, relationships, or circumstances that trigger their most intense reactions and symptoms of BPD. Since another defining aspect of BPD is a series of unstable relationships, the avoidance of interpersonal relationships as they get older would appear to indicate that the disorder has mitigated.
Of course, the best way to ensure that your BPD symptoms do lessen is to get proper BPD treatment. A course of treatment that includes Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) or Mentalization-based Therapy offers the best prognosis if you have been diagnosed with BPD.
By developing the tools to manage and regulate your emotions and impulses, the disorder can be remediated well before middle age and you can obtain many years of balanced mental health and relief from your BPD symptoms.
I was FINALLY diagnosed with BPD when I was 18. I think they were just waiting until I was old enough to have it be called that instead of hypersensitivity, ADHD and bipolar (I do still suffer the latter). I am only 26 but feel that I finally got a handle on my “illness” at about age 24.
I completely attribute it to positive support networking. I have very understanding and patient parents, wonderful forgiving tolerant amazing friends, and now, an incredible boyfriend who treats me very well.
Having been treated so badly for so long, I was one of the lucky ones who got sick of agreeing with people who said I was no good, I still struggle with body image issues, but I don’t hate myself anymore, I respect myself, and that has had me jump leaps and bounds.
It was only after I finally said to myself “right, THAT’S IT, I am not a moron and I won’t let myself be treated that way” did I start not only respecting myself but gaining respect from others. I still get very angry and feel like blowing up sometimes but I vent to a good friend or my boyfriend (unless it’s about him :p) then tackle it in a calm manner and of course get better results.
As I said, still struggling with body image issues and bipolar disorder but I am not suffering to the degree I used to. I am one of the lucky ones, I was able to force myself to harden up, I only wish there was a way I could help every other person who suffers into a self respect epiphany.
I’d rather be here in my house, alone, than out there in the world with people. People are all so darn cruel. Who needs them? Who wants them?
I always treat myself pretty good! And, fortunately, I can always keep myself plenty occupied, too.
It was so easy to write that previous comment when I had a job. I completely forgot that I’d read and commented. I since suffered a relapse after losing my job, despite buying a home, getting married and having a baby. I am now finally in am good headspace and on decent medication. I ended up marrying the boyfriend mentioned in my previous post. He is still amazing.
Hope things continue to improve for you!
I believe my daughter has BPD, a milder form. She’s 32 now. She hasn’t had any issues with suicidal gestures, although when she was a teen she did some cutting. Likewise, she hasn’t had any psychotic episodes. But she does experience outbursts of anger, and she does have impulsiveness issues (over-spending, over-eating). She does have distortions about people’s motives when she’s in the “zone.”
She hasn’t been formally diagnosed yet, and I would like to see her get help since when she is suffering she’s pretty much out of control. It’s taking a toll on her relationship with a wonderful, sweet man. I can see that it is distressing to her, because she just can’t help herself when she’s in it. But I think that even telling her what I think it might be and trying to convince her to see a therapist about it will be difficult because she is NOT going to like that “label.”
As I understand it, though, BPD occurs differently for each individual; and even differently at different times or stages of life of that individual. So…it’s important for family members to become educated about it, and to be able to provide support to the borderline person. And I think it’s really important for the borderline person to gain the skills for how to deal with it too.
I’m not nearly as worried about the diagnosis now as I was at first, now that I’ve learned more about it. But I would like to see her begin treatment sooner rather than later. I’m unsure of how to approach her about it.
Hi Sue. A great resource for you might be the NEABPD: http://www.BorderlinePersonalityDisorder.com. They offer a free Family Connections program that may be beneficial.
Im 26 i have been diagnosed with depression for years but i never really had a support network, im making an appointment because everything about BPD rings true with my own internal hell, im just wondering is it too late for me to achieve a meaningful recovery at this point?
Too late? Never. I was diagnosed and treated at 35. I’ve had one relapse, and I’m 40 now. It’s never too late. But it is hard work, and you have to be dedicated to changing who you are. DBT worked very, very well for me. Wish you the best!