The clinical existence of borderline personality disorder (BPD) in adolescence has long been debated. The reason is that a teen’s personality is still developing. Therefore, clinicians have been hesitant to make a definitive diagnosis.
BPD presentation in teens can be confusing, frustrating, and difficult for both the affected individual and their loved ones to understand. It can negatively affect family dynamics, which is why family-based approaches are often used to treat BPD in teens.
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that impacts how you think and feel about yourself and others. These thoughts can interfere with functioning in everyday life. Individuals with BPD struggle with self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.
One of the hallmark symptoms of BPD is the lack of a stable sense of self. People with BPD exhibit extreme emotional instability without a strong identity. The disorder often first appears in teenagers and young adults but can take some time to be diagnosed.
Early Intervention Is Critical
BPD in adolescence can make it difficult for the individual to connect with others due to the massive overload of emotions. As a result, teens with the condition often become isolated and more prone to self-destructive behavior like self-harm or suicidal ideation.
Teens diagnosed with BPD lead lives that are sometimes chaotic and stressful. Therefore, relatively benign life experiences and encounters become challenging to manage for these kids.
The earlier the disorder is identified, the greater the chances of finding successful treatment. Early treatment is recommended in most cases and leads to a better long-term outcome. Effective teen personality disorder treatment combines clinical approaches and holistic strategies. In addition, such treatment can help to stabilize BPD behaviors and reduce daily emotional challenges.
Neurological Issues Associated With BPD
BPD patients lack the neural capacity needed to inhibit negative emotions because the part of the brain that regulates emotions and controls impulses is often damaged. This damage leads to behavioral problems and personality issues commonly seen in individuals with BPD.
Studies show the danger of these abnormalities in the structure of the brain. Almost 60% of the BPD risk stems from this problem. Additionally, the neurobiological response to chronic stress in affected individuals is a possible cause.
Chronic stress can change brain metabolism and structure. Such changes might limit the brain’s ability to process and integrate thoughts and emotions.
Symptoms of BPD in Teens
According to the DSM-V, to be diagnosed with BPD, an individual must exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frantic effort to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- Unstable self-image and sense of self
- Extreme emotional instability
- Rageful outbursts
- Depressive moods
- Fear of rejection
- Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
Individuals with BPD tend to have insecure attachment styles, specifically unresolved, preoccupied, or fearful attachment. In addition, people with BPD experience intense feelings of anxiety and insecurity and feel that others cannot be trusted or are not available for support.
Individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to environmental factors, such as stressors at home or work that may trigger experiences of anger or anxiety. BPD in teens is closely linked to serious disruptions in early childhood attachments and experiences. Therefore, individuals with borderline personality disorder need to seek professional help as soon as possible to begin managing their symptoms effectively.
Family-based interventions can positively affect the treatment of teenage BPD.
As family members, getting involved in the treatment process provides crucial support and understanding to both you and your teen, helping you manage this complex condition together.
Interventions Help the Entire Family
Not only do family members play an essential role in helping teens cope with BPD, but they may also stand to benefit from treatment themselves. Living day in and day out with a teenager who struggles with emotional regulation and interpersonal relationships can be extremely challenging, often taking a toll on family members’ mental health.
At Clearfork Academy, we recognize the value of family participation in the recovery process, and we believe that this is an essential part of addressing BPD in teens.
Support and Guidance
By providing support and guidance to these family members, we can help them cope more effectively with the unique challenges of living with BPD in adolescents. Through collaborative therapy sessions and other family-centered approaches, we can help those affected by BPD find healing and hope for the future. Therefore, seeking treatment together will help the family manage the challenges of BPD together.
If you are a parent of a teenager who has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, it is important to understand that early intervention is essential. The signs and symptoms of BPD can be disruptive and destructive, but they are also treatable. Clearfork Academy offers family-based interventions for adolescents with BPD that have shown promising results. Our program offers teens the experience of a continuum of care that addresses not only healing for the mind but the body and spirit as well. Our experienced staff can help your teen manage the challenges of BPD and live a healthy, productive life. We provide a safe and supportive environment where your teen can learn how to manage their emotions and develop healthy coping skills. You are not alone in this journey, we are here to help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.