What to do if you think you may have BPD

  • Personality disorders are really difficult to deal with on your own, so if you’re worried about having a personality disorder it’s a good idea to visit your GP. It will make the process of diagnosing and managing the disorder much easier and quicker if you seek professional help.

  • Alongside a professional treatment plan, people with personality disorders also develop strategies to manage their symptoms in everyday life, including developing positive coping skills.

  • Attend the emergency room if you have thoughts of harming yourself or others


How to support a family member/friend with BPD:

  • Validate their experience and listen without judgement

  • Educate yourself about BPD

  • Support their efforts to seek professional help

  • Do not ignore threats of harm and get in touch with emergency services

  • Remember to take care of yourself


How does the future look?

Research has shown that people can recover from BPD and that their recovery is often long-lasting. Everyone’s path to recovery is different, whether you are the individual with BPD or a family member or friend. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in life as people grow beyond the impact of BPD. O’Grady and Skinner (2007) say it best: “Recovery has also been described as a process by which people recover their self-esteem, dreams, self-worth, empowerment, pride, dignity and meaning.”

The above information was compiled from CAMH.ca.  For more information visit CAMH.ca


The Challenges of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

BPD is virtually unknownyet it affects 2-6 percent of the population (as many as Bipolar and Schizophrenia combined). The most recent (and largest) community survey in the United States found a prevalence of BPD of six per cent. For the U.S. alone this translates into more than 18.8 million people living with BPD, almost equal to the population of greater metropolitan area of New York City, the fourth largest city in the world. At this time, we don’t have accurate rates for Canada (Grant et al., 2008).

Obstacles within the Health Care Community hinder early diagnosis and intervention.  In fact, limited knowledge among medical professionals can actually make things worse.  Within the medical community there is often a stigma around labeling an adolescent with emerging BPD traits.  This limits the introduction of coping skills and intervention to alleviate early symptoms.  Eventually unaddressed symptoms may escalate requiring crisis intervention in an emergency environment such as a general psychiatric ward that may lack an appropriate blueprint to provide a path of hope towards effective treatment.

BPD resources are scarce. Currently there are relatively few facilities and programs for BPD treatment and there are a limited number of  professionals trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) the most effective known treatment for BPD.  Lack of subject matter experts combined with limited funding* inhibits new BPD research and care giver training  means that the situation is not likely to improve quickly unless strong action is taken.
*in US $300 million /year is raised for Schizophrenia vs. $5 million raised for BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder Pamphlet

BPD Pamphlet

The Good News

BPD is very treatable!
With appropriate therapy most patients can recover and live a full productive life.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is highly effective in treating BPD
DBT combines standard techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness.

DBT impacts in other areas of Mental Illness
DBT has also proven effective in the treatment of other mental health issues such as bipolar and eating disorders.  By providing an effective skills base for overall emotional stability practicing DBT skills helps in regulating emotions; relating better with others and handling distress. See Family Connections for a program designed to help families and friends with loved ones living with emotional dysregulation.

DBT skills present a universal opportunity
When we teach DBT skills to general populations we are helping ensure that non-inherent life skills become more widely utilized.  We believe this could result in fewer people exhibiting BPD traits thus reducing the strain on medical resources.  This could also help improve relationships within educational institutions, families and workplace through the creation of a more validating environment for everyone..
See Why DBT in schools? for details about an initiative funded by Sashbear to research benefits of implementing a DBT skills curriculum in schools.

  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better...
  • Let's remove stigma from mental illness and Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • We are all in this together, you are not alone...
  • Validation before problem solving...
  • Emotion Regulation Disorder is the new name for Borderline Personality Disorder...
  • Let's teach DBT skills in schools...
  • Let's intervene, let's intervene early...
  • Show me compassion and empathy first, don't just tell me how to change
  • Let go of judgments and believe in me so that I can believe in myself
  • Accept me so that I can better accept myself
  • We are all doing the best we can and we can all do better next time
  • Take care of yourself then you can attend to others
  • Be mindful - Observe, describe, participate effectively
  • Observe your own emotions rise and that of others, pause then engage effectively
  • Strive to be wise, not just rational or emotional
  • Change what you can, accept what you cannot
  • Validation is not agreement
  • Validate, Validate Validate
  • Be supportive, let go of judgements
  • We can't control having strong emotions but we can change how we respond to them
  • Hope is everything and is always there even when I cannot see it
  • BPD is more common than Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder combined 6%
  • The suicide rate of BPD victims is 400 times that of general population
  • BPD is the third leading killer of young women between the ages of 15-24
  • 1 of 5 seek help, 4 of 5 benefit from treatment
  • 4,000 young people die by suicide per year in Canada
  • I am not the disorder. I am a person
  • Stop the Stigma - by Speaking Up
  • Living with BPD is like not having an emotional skin
  • Genetic vulnerabilities and invalidating environment could lead to BPD
  • Breathe
  • Mindfulness is not what you think
  • Mindfulness is being present moment to moment
  • Mindfulness is just observing, paying attention to non-judgement
  • Patience, trust, non-striving and acceptance
  • Mindfulness does not come by itself..it takes practice
  • Let your breath be your anchor to observe thoughts as they arise
  • Observe thoughts as they come and go like waves on the ocean
  • Pay attention to what you are actually paying attention to
  • What we frequently think we become
  • Turning my auto-pilot off
  • Only that day dawns to which we are awake - Thoreau Walden
  • It is a radical act of love to just just down and be quiet for a time by YOURSELF
  • You are HERE!
  • Make each moment count!
  • I am a valuable part of all that EXISTS
  • I am Love. ALL is Love
  • The practice of mindfulness is not to follow your heart but to train your heart
  • It's OK, let it be
  • Smile at thoughts, they are empty. The only power thoughts have is the power you give them
  • The benefit will come to your life with consistent mindfulness practice everyday
  • Whatever you do to make it mindful!
  • Kindness is pure wisdom
  • Mindfulness is free or craving, want or hate
  • Be gentle to yourself as well as others
  • When you feel connected to someone that connection gives you purpose
  • Practice kindness whenever possible. It's always possible - Dalai Lama

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NOTE: please do not use the button above to sign up for Family Connections (FC) - our Family Skills program. To sign up for FC follow this link instead Family Connections and register directly from that page.