Borderline Personality Disorder

Coping with BPD can be very challenging. But if you, a family member or friend is struggling, there is help. NAMI is there to provide you with support and information about community resources for you and your family.

Contact the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org for more help.

Helping Yourself

Although you may realize that your behaviors are destructive it may be difficult to control them. Treatment can teach you ways to cope. Here are some other ways to help manage your illness:

  • Connect with others. Find emotional support from others living with BPD. It’s helpful to share your thoughts, fears and questions with other people who have the same illness. Use online message boards or groups found through social sites like meetup.com or Facebook. Healing From BPD includes a peer-hosted chat room.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. These substances can disturb emotional balance and interact with medications.
  • Take care of your body. Eat well and exercise. To relieve stress, try low-key activities like meditation, yoga or Tai Chi.

If you live with a mental health condition, learn more about managing your mental health and finding the support you need.

Helping a Family Member or Friend

The support of family and friends is critical in the treatment of BPD, as many people with this illness may isolate themselves from these relationships in times of greatest need.

  • Look for warning signs. BPD often shows in erratic behavior, shopping sprees, sexual or substance binges and blow-up fights in relationships. If a person is open to it, discuss your friend or family member’s past episodes with them so he or she can clearly recognize the signs early.
  • Encourage continued treatment. Family and friends can be most helpful in encouraging someone to engage in proper treatment for this complicated and frustrating illness.
  • Understand treatment. If your loved one is in a skills-based approach like DBT, learn the language of these coping strategies and use them to help provide support.
  • Speak honestly and kindly. Don’t chide people for failing to be in control or making bad choices. Instead, make specific offers of help and follow through. Tell the person you care about him or her. Ask how he or she feels.
  • React calmly. Even if your family member or friend is in a crisis, it’s important to remain calm. Listen to him and make him feel understood, then take the next step toward getting help.

Find out more about taking care of your family member or friend and yourself.