Borderline Personality Disorder – Diagnostics and Treatment

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can make most everything about a person feel unstable—from their moods and behavior, to their relationships and identity. It impacts self-image, likes and dislikes, and personal goals. And all too often, people living with the condition find themselves on edge after even the smallest of triggers.

Fortunately, BPD can be treated. But first it has to be recognized, and that’s not always easy. So what should we all know about spotting the signs and symptoms of BPD? Who’s at risk of developing this disorder? And how can it most effectively be treated?

Audience Questions

Karen L. Jacob, PhD, provides an overview of BPD diagnosis and treatment, shares tips for loved ones and professionals supporting someone with the condition, and debunks the many myths surrounding this complex disorder.

  • What is BPD and how is it diagnosed?
  • What can you tell us about the potential causes of BPD?
  • Does BPD have a relatively high rate of co-occurrence with other mental health conditions?
  • What are the biggest challenges to getting an accurate diagnosis of BPD?
  • Are some mental health disorders more likely than others to be confused with BPD?
  • How do you differentiate between complex PTSD and BPD?
  • Can bipolar disorder be confused with BPD?
  • What are the treatment options for those with BPD?
  • What is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and how is it relevant to BPD?
  • Is there a correlation between NPD and antisocial personality disorder?
  • How might autism spectrum disorder impact differential diagnosis of BPD?
  • Can someone have BPD but only show symptoms at home?
  • How might someone get an individual with BPD to commit to seeking help when one day they want it, and the next they feel they don’t need it and become agitated when the topic is brought up?
  • What are some of the expected outcomes of BPD treatment?
  • What should we know about treatment for NPD?
  • At what age do symptoms of BPD typically appear?
  • How might someone provide support to an individual with NPD and BPD who is handling the aftermath of a relationship?
  • What guidance do you have for clinicians treating someone with BPD?
  • Can you recommend any books about dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)?
  • What resources would you suggest for someone looking to learn more about BPD or NPD?
  • Why is it so important to get these diagnoses correct?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


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About Dr. Jacob

Karen L. Jacob, PhD, is the program director of McLean’s Gunderson Residence, a treatment program focused on treating adults living with borderline personality disorder. Her clinical training has been primarily in cognitive behavior therapy for patients struggling with mood, anxiety, and personality disorders, as well as in mindfulness, mentalization, dialectical behavior, and biofeedback therapies.

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