Teenagers and Borderline Personality Disorder

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Teenagers with Borderline Personality Disorder are becoming far more common. Teen depression, teen anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are the most diagnosed conditions. These are serious mental health issues facing teenagers in the United States. Therefore, parents need to be on the watch for teens showing symptoms.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

First of all, the symptoms of the BPD are erratic. As a result, people jump from extreme emotion to extreme emotion. Furthermore, this is usually without warning and little provocation. Consequently, it can be difficult to diagnose.

The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-V) defines Borderline Personality Disorder as a persistent pattern of instability in a patient’s life. This is found in relationships and self-image. Additionally, it is characterized by impulsive responses. Therefore, the signs of the disorder can show during the erratic teen years. Hence, it can create problems for teenagers at school, home, and in the community. Some of the most common signs include:

  • Unstable sense of self
  • Focus on real or imagined abandonment, separation, or rejection
  • Inappropriate anger
  • Belief that changes indicate abandonment or that they have failed in some way
  • Intolerant of being alone
  • Self-mutilation or suicidal tendencies
  • Impulsive in relation to at least two of the following: shopping, drugs and alcohol, sex, driving or binge eating
  • Pattern of volatile and intense interpersonal relationships defined first by idealization then devaluation

Do these issues plague your teenager? If you believe that your teen is struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder, it’s important to get help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and family counseling are just two ways to combat this disorder. Hence, if you need support, we are here to help. Contact us at Newport Academy today to learn more.

Borderline Personality Disorder Statistics

According to the Borderline Personality Disorder Center, BPD affects between six and 10 million Americans. Consequently, this is between two and six percent of the population. Therefore, about 75 to 90 percent of those with Borderline Personality Disorder are women. 

Identifying Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens

Teenage girls have the highest risk of developing Borderline Personality Disorder. It does strike a small percentage of boys as well. Consequently, all kids are at risk. Therefore, parents must learn the signs and symptoms.

Parents who suspect that their child may have Borderline Personality Disorder should watch for these signs:

  • Reckless behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Intense bursts of anxiety or depression
  • Inability to control one’s emotions
  • An inability to maintain personal relationships

See Related: Symptoms of Teen Drug Abuse

Self-Mutilation and Suicidal Tendencies Among Teens With BPD

The Borderline Personality Disorder Center reports that one in 10 with the disorder will commit suicide. As a result, about 33 percent of teens who commit suicide exhibit symptoms of the disorder. Furthermore, when compared to the general population, this number is about 400 percent higher. Therefore, teenage girls and young women diagnosed with BPD are 800 times more likely to commit suicide.

Self-Harm in Teens

Self-harm is an issue among Borderline Personality Disorder patients. Teens may cut themselves with razors or knives. They create scars and risk death. Therefore, it is important to get help as soon as you see the symptoms.

Both self-harm and suicidal tendencies are treatable. You are not alone. In addition, teen treatment centers offer a variety of modalities to support mental health. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been shown to decrease suicide attempts among patients diagnosed with BPD. They cut the numbers in half when compared to other treatments and therapies. Hence, clinical treatment can combat the disorder.

Sexual Activity Among Teens Diagnosed With BPD

Sexual Activity and Personality DisorderImpulsivity is one of the hallmarks of teen Borderline Personality Disorder. Impulsive choices in relation to driving, shopping, and substance use are common. In addition, poor sexual behavior is an indicator. This is according to a study published in Innovative Clinical Neuroscience, 2011 February; 8(2):14-18. Some of the signs of sexual impulsivity that can characterize BPD among teens include:

  • Preoccupation with sex and sexual behavior
  • Early sexual experiences
  • Casual relationships that are based primarily on sexual attraction
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Promiscuity

Diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens

Some symptoms can be construed as normal teen behaviors. Therefore, it is important to take your child to a psychiatric professional. Hence, this is the only way to determine if a BPD diagnosis is present.

Symptoms include:

  • Symptoms of depression
  • Suicidal tendencies or cutting
  • Cognitive ability and function
  • Manic or hypomanic episodes
  • Quality of relationships with friends and family members
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sexual activity and proclivities

A thorough evaluation is ideal. Furthermore, this provides your teen with the information needed to choose the ideal treatment. As a result, your teen and your family can find long-term healing. Consequently, it is critical to see a skilled clinician.

Prepare Teens for Treatment

Once Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed, take the following steps to help a child adapt and cope:

  • Improve communication. Reach out with caring communication
  • Help them defend against self-destructive behaviors. Watch out for some of the more physically endangering signs of BPD
  • Learn about the teen’s stressors. Learn more about the sources of stress and anxiety in their child’s life that may increase BPD
  • Call 911 if necessary. If your teen attempts suicide or cuts himself, call 911 for medical treatment immediately
  • Seek professional treatment. Teenagers with BPD can be a danger to themselves and others. Therefore, it is important to get the child into treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment Options for Teens

Multiple group therapy and one-on-one therapy sessions are the first steps. If behaviors are severe, inpatient treatment might be necessary. BPD can be complicated. Consequently, treatment needs to be comprehensive. In addition, monitoring should be available to ensure the safety of patients.

Therapy and Teen BPD Treatment

There are a number of different therapies that are effective for BPD. In addition, it is key to learn about how the disorder works in the body. As a result of awareness, teens learn how to handle impulses and decipher symptoms of paranoia. Therefore, this can help the patient to better manage anger, frustration, and loneliness. Some therapies include:

Medication and Teen BPD

Depending upon the symptoms, different medications may be prescribed. However, no medication offers a final solution. Hence it is necessary to seek all alternatives.

Medication is often a part of both inpatient and outpatient treatment. According to the BPD Resource Center, antidepressants or mood stabilizers may help with depression or mood swings. Antipsychotics may help with mistaken perceptions and/or anxiety when prescribed in low doses.

Teen Treatment at Newport Academy

Newport Academy offers treatment and care for young people with BPD. In conclusion, left untreated, BPD can be a debilitating disease for the individual and his or her family. Therefore, even if we are not the right fit, call us. We will help you find what teen treatment works for you.

We offer hope for families who want their lives back. Contact us today for more information about the next best step for your family.