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Our Son is Getting Help for Borderline Personality Disorder – How Do We Help Ourselves?


Our son was given a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder by the treatment team he was seeing at his college counseling center. We were so relieved to have a name for the symptoms which had been causing him so much distress. The counseling center refered our son to a team of clinicians. Now he sees a psychologist for individual DBT and attends a DBT skills group and he sees a psychiatrist who has helped him get off a number of medications which weren’t working very well. He still takes medication, but nowhere near as many as he used to. Our son is back in school and things are better but still rocky at times. Last summer he was back at home with us and at times we didn’t know how to handle things. Twice he threatened to hurt himself, once he got drunk and got a DUI which really scared us. We feel like we could use some education and support about the disorder. His treaters are in another state and we’re at a loss as to what to do.

Perry Hoffman, Ph.D., President, National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder answers:

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious but treatable condition and family involvement can be crucial in helping patients in their recovery. Parents of college age students with BPD are often at a loss as to how to help; they’re often scared or confused or angry themselves.
Getting and staying involved with your son’s care can be crucial. Asking questions about his treatment, getting treatment yourselves with a focus on education, support, or skills in managing the challenges of the disorder, could help him and help you.
You should ask his psychologist and psychiatrist about resources available in your community. The National Education Alliance Family CONNECTIONS Program is another option, available in person or in a “virtual” setting.
Most individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder will get better over time, but developing skills and supports yourself can help in the meantime.

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