Is there a cure for BPD?

When I say I have BPD, people tend to assume I mean bipolar disorder.

There isn’t a lot of information circulated about BPD, possibly because it occurs in less than 1% of the population.

So today I thought I’d answer a few questions – from my perspective with a sprinkle of evidence-based research.

Can BPD be cured/treated?

People with BPD should not be excluded from health services because of their diagnosis (although this does happen).

There is no specific drug treatment for BPD, although short term drug treatment can be used in a crisis situation (NICE CG78) . People with BPD are at high risk of co-morbidities such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance misuse and other personality disorders – they may be given drug treatment for one of these.

Treatment is usually psychotherapy, which should not last less than 3 months.

Treatment should include identifying short and long term goals, identifying potential triggers, self management strategies and a crisis plan (including out of hours contacts).

One of the most common treatment methods is DBT – dialectical behaviour therapy. More information on treatments can be found here.

Young people with BPD are treated within CAHMS (however, diagnosis is more common over the age of 18).

Some people no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for BPD after treatment.

Can BPD be misdiagnosed?

BPD is commonly misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder, as the symptoms are very similar.

It is also possible to have Complex PTSD (C-PTSD), but be misdiagnosed with BPD. C-PTSD is a relatively new term with symptoms that can be similar to BPD and currently there are no guidelines for this disorder.

Can people with BPD feel love?

Easy one. Yes.

Can BPD be genetic?

There is evidence that BPD can run in families. For example, there has been a study which looked at BPD in twins.

BPD in families may be due to genetics, or may be due to environment. For example, a person with BPD may have difficulties with parenting if they were victimised as a child or grew up in a difficult environment.

Can BPD be prevented?

BPD is thought to be a combination of factors, e.g. brain development, genetics, exposure to certain environmental factors e.g. abuse (of any type), neglect, a parent with mental health issues or substance abuse. Therefore, it is difficult to say that it is ‘preventable’, as there could be numerous factors involved.

Early intervention could help to reduce the impact of BPD on the person diagnosed, although it is often not diagnosed until later in life.

Theoretically, you can try to prevent BPD in offspring by getting treatment for yourself; there are also programmes available to help with parenting skills.


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