Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Care For Teens With Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is a very difficult-to-treat personality disorder that can wreak havoc on all who love the individual struggling with it. Teenagers with these symptoms are extremely challenging because they have the normal teen angst and hormones in addition to serious behavior caused by their illness. There are steps you can take to make life a bit easier for you, your family and your teenager who is diagnosed with this disorder.


Dealing With Your Teen Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

1. Educate yourself about borderline personality disorder. This illness is characterized by efforts to avoid being abandoned, suicidal statements and gestures, an unstable sense of self, black and white thinking, anger management issues, chronic feelings of emptiness and impulsivity. While some of these symptoms are also part of a typical teenager profile, they will be significantly greater in a teen with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). For a full list of symptoms, consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV TR) under personality disorders. You can find this book in the library, bookstores or online.

2. Evaluate your teen based on your observations and his history. If you believe he truly fits this profile, you need to seek support. Always remember that certain normal teenage issues may present like BPD, so it is necessary to have assistance and encouragement from those who understand and can guide you. Call your local branch of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill or a community mental health center.

3. Let your teen with BPD know your feelings about his behavior (be specific) and be clear with him that you hear his feelings. Do not attempt to fix his problems, as you will be drawn into unnecessary and ineffective chaos. You may also become the new target of his anger and emotional outbursts.

4. Set limits as you would for any teenager, but it is even more important to be consistent and keep them. For instance, if she is verbally abusive and you have warned her that you would not talk to her under those conditions, then you must keep your word.

5. Reassure the teen that you will still be there for him even when needing to keep the limits and boundaries you have set. An example might be a party that your son wants to go to but cannot due to his behavior. You could reassure him that though he cannot go to the party, you still love him and will reconsider future parties if he follows the rules you have set. Since individuals with BPD struggle with real and perceived abandonment issues and black and white thinking, they need constant assurance that you will continue to be steady and present.

6. Do not focus on your teen's feelings when setting limits; instead, discuss behavior. Observe her actions and effects on you and ask her to change whatever it is that is disruptive to you. Give her specific and measurable suggestions. Do not respond to her emotive responses to you and don't try to argue with her about it. The more matter of fact and concrete you are, the more success you will have with your teen.

Tags: Borderline Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality, Personality Disorder, your teen, black white, black white thinking