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Medications for Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as BPD, is a mental health disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, BPD is characterized by an “ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior”.

These patterns will often result in reckless and hasty actions, negatively affecting one’s relationships. Most commonly adolescents that struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder will experience bouts of intense, uncontrollable anger, anxiety, and/or depression. These symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Up until very recently Borderline Personality Disorder was not considered to be diagnosable in people younger than eighteen years old, as the personalities of people younger than eighteen years old are not technically considered to be fully formed. However, in the most recent publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it does indicate that BPD can now be diagnosed in people as young as eighteen, and though extremely rare, can be diagnosed children thirteen years old, and in some cases even younger.


Adequate research for treating young people with BPD remains lacking. For example, there is not yet an FDA approved medication available for the treatment of BPD, itself. It is not uncommon for teenagers with Borderline Personality Disorder to have additional cooccurring disorders. In these cases, medical intervention can be helpful in reducing some of the psychological symptoms. Using certain medications meant for treating anxiety and depression, both common symptoms of BPD, can help to reduce those BPD symptoms.

Antidepressants are regularly used to help with specific aspects related to the mood fluctuations experienced in teens with Borderline Personality Disorder (i.e. sadness, anxiety, and overall low mood…etc.). Though antidepressants can help with this portion of BPD, research has indicated that these medications do not necessarily help with other aspects of BPD in young people. Several of the frequently diagnosed antidepressant medications prescribed include Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor and Wellburtrin.

Another type of medication that is used in treating symptoms of BPD in teenagers is antipsychotics. Research has supported the theory that antipsychotics help to reduce symptoms such as paranoid thinking, anxiety, impulsivity and hostility in young people with BPD. The name, Borderline Personality Disorder was created because psychiatrists believed that the symptoms associated with BPD were considered to be teetering between neurosis and psychosis, hence “on the border” between the two. This is why antipsychotic medications were initially experimented with as a means to uncover treatment options for BPD.

Mood stabilizers and anticonvulsant medications have also been used to treat specific aspects of BPD in young people. These types of medications can help with the symptoms associated with impulsive behaviors and rapid emotional changes that are exhibited in teens with BPD. In some cases, anti-anxiety medications can be prescribed to young people with BPD. There is, however, very little research on the effectiveness of anti-anxiety medication, as the addictive qualities that are present in many anti-anxiety medications can outweigh the possible treatment benefits.

In addition to medication, there are several treatment options available for reducing the symptoms associated with BPD in teens. Certain psychotherapy techniques may be effective, such as dialectical behavior therapy, in treating aspects of BPD in teens. It is essential to obtain the proper medical and psychological help with treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Implementing various medication options, in addition to tailored psychotherapy options can be incredibly helpful and yield positive results for a young person’s recovery.

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