I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Unlike other friends of mine with schizophrenia, manic-depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, among other mental illnesses, my psychiatrist says there is no specific medication to help manage my illness. Is this true?
(Column: Ask the Pharmacist)
Yes. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterized by emotional instability, extreme impulsiveness, frequent conflicts with others, feelings of emptiness and irrational anger.
BPD is believed to result from a biological disorder of the emotional regulation system. Most patients with this condition are highly emotionally vulnerable, as they lack the skills that are necessary for regulating emotions.
This condition affected about 2-3% of the general population,10% of the psychiatric outpatient population, and 20 percent of the psychiatric inpatient population. It usually coexists with other psychiatric illnesses. More than half the patients with BPD have a problem with substance abuse. Nearly 75% of BPD patients are women and more than half of them have a history of physical or sexual abuse.
This condition is severe and persistent. It presents a major challenge to health care professionals because there is no ideal treatment for patients with BPD. Medication is targeted to treat specific symptoms such as paranoia, anger, depression, etc. Medication must be combined with individual and group psychotherapy.
BPD usually requires extended psychotherapy. Unfortunately in this age of managed care it is often difficult to achieve the desired goal. It is important to realize that BPD is a very complex illness and has multiple symptoms. Physicians have reported difficulties in treating these conditions because there are so many different symptoms and often other mental conditions that also need to be treated.
For more information about BPD treatment contact the Treatment and Research Association for Personality Disorders (TARA) at 212-966-6514.