Treatment for borderline personality disorder

You and your doctor can work together to decide which treatments to try. The main treatment for borderline personality disorder is psychological/talking therapy.

Talking therapies

The most common treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD) is talking therapies. This can take place in a group or 1 to 1 setting. Talking therapy might feel intimidating to begin with, but many people find it helps in the long run.

There can be long waiting lists for talking therapies on the NHS. It may be that not all therapies are available in your area. Some types of talking therapies used to help manage BPD are listed below.

Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT)

DBT helps you to learn new ways to deal with distress, rather than harmful ways that you may be using to help you cope, such as self-harm or substance abuse. Therapists call this ‘emotional regulation’.

Cognitive analytical therapy (CAT)

CAT helps you to understand problems you have in relationships, and change patterns of unhelpful behaviour. This may be useful if you often switch between liking and disliking people who are close to you.

Mentalisation-based therapy (MBT)

MBT aims to challenge your thinking about what other people are thinking or feeling.. For example, if someone you care about wants to do something by themselves, you might think they don’t care about you, hate you or they will never want to come back.

Mentalising helps you to understand other people’s behaviour and your reaction to it. This will help you to try and take a more balanced view of what may be going on in other people’s minds.


Mindfulness can help you manage your emotions by focussing on the present.

Therapeutic communities

Therapeutic communities are places you can go to have treatment. They are programmes designed by and for groups of people who are experiencing mental health problems. Community members are able to support each other. Therapeutic communities might live together for weeks or months, or meet up regularly.

Activities can include individual or group therapy, household chores and social activities.


There is no medication to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD). But your doctor may give you medication if you have another mental illness, like anxiety or depression, as well as BPD. They may offer you medication in a crisis, but this isn’t helpful as a long-term treatment.


There are things you can try to help calm overwhelming emotions. Different things work for different people, but you can start small and develop your own tools too.

  • Think about how your life could benefit from making changes to your lifestyle
  • If something upsets you, wait a while before responding
  • Find ways to relax, like meditation, listening to music or exercising
  • If you use self-harm to help deal with your feelings, try punching a pillow or writing about how you feel
  • Use an online mental health forum, like Clic, to speak to others about how you’re feeling

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