Treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD)

How is borderline personality disorder treated?

Managing emotions

Finding and practicing a way to calm yourself is almost always valuable. Useful skills are mindfulness or meditation. Mindfulness is a technique used to help you stay focused in the present moment and to respond to the world (and your child). Learning this technique may be helpful for you if you tend to find that you are often ‘stuck in your own head’ (going over and over worries or negative thoughts) or tend to ‘react’ emotionally when you are in stressful situations.

Talking therapies

Your doctor will talk to you about psychological (talking) therapies.

Dialectical behaviour therapy is the most studied therapy for borderline personality disorder. It can help decrease inappropriate anger, reduce self-harm and improve general functioning. Long-term therapy may be required.

Registered practitioners with appropriate training and experience provide talking therapies for individuals or groups. You can find these types of professionals on the e-COPE Directory.


Medicines are not usually used to treat borderline personality disorder. If your symptoms are strong, your doctor may give you a short course of medicines.

Advice for women experiencing borderline personality disorder

1. Seek help and treatment

  • Seek help from a doctor or other health professional.
  • Learn about effective treatments.
  • Call a support service or mental health crisis line if other help is not available.

2. Accept help and support

  • Develop a support system of friends, family and professionals and accept help.
  • Discuss your feeling with your partner, family and friends.

3. Look after your physical health

  • Try to eat healthy meals, including fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lots of water.
  • Plan some enjoyable physical activity every day.
  • Try to establish good sleeping patterns.
  • Practice techniques to reduce stress, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing.

Advice for family and friends providing support

1. Listen and reassure

  • Encourage the woman to discuss her symptoms.
  • Explain that borderline personality disorder can be managed.

2. Provide information

  • Give the woman good quality information about borderline personality disorder, such as this factsheet.
  • Give details of helplines if she is feeling distressed and needs support.
  • Offer information to the woman’s partner/others.

3. Direct to care and support

  • Encourage the woman to talk to her GP or other health professional.
  • Encourage the woman to identify and draw on possible supports and services that may be available to her for practical and/or emotional support.
  • Remind the woman that she can go to her doctor or local hospital if she is at risk of harming herself or others.