Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder: Therapy

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Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder: Therapy
Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder: Therapy
Video: Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder: Therapy
Video: Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder | GPs: Behind Closed Doors | Channel 5 2023, February

Emotionally unstable personality disorder: therapy

People with emotionally unstable personality disorder often find it difficult to seek help. Often times, they cannot even see for themselves that they need support. In many cases, people first seek advice or therapy in their social environment because they cannot cope with the behavior of their loved ones or develop their own emotional problems as a result. Emotionally unstable personality disorders can be treated, even though the therapy is often long-term and demands perseverance from those affected. The borderline type of this personality disorder has been particularly well researched.


  • Continue reading
  • more on the subject
  • Advice, downloads & tools
  • Psychotherapeutic treatment
  • Medication
  • What can I do myself?
  • What can I do as a relative?
  • Whom can I ask?
  • How are the costs going to be covered?

Psychotherapeutic treatment

Scientific studies have shown that transference-focused psychotherapy / TFP can have a positive influence on relationship experience and behavior. The TFP is a psychoanalytic procedure. Other therapies that have proven effective in borderline personality disorder include dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), mentalization-based therapy (MBT), and schema therapy; in addition, the psychoanalytical-interactional method (PiM) in adolescence. Relationship behavior is also in the foreground in these forms of therapy. In the TFP, however, the therapeutic relationship is more central; in the other procedures, it is more about everyday relationships. In severe crises, hospitalization may be necessary, which may result in rehabilitation.A job assistance can be helpful for support in professional life.

The therapies often last for years to bring about personality changes. The treatment of a personality disorder requires a session frequency of usually two therapeutic sessions per week (e.g. also in combination of individual and group therapy). In later phases of treatment, it is often possible to switch to a lower frequency. Methods of emotion and stress regulation are also used. The problems with which those affected have to struggle (e.g. difficulties in social life) are mostly reflected in a more difficult treatment path. It is not uncommon for therapy to be discontinued. An essential basis is the trusting relationship that is slowly being built up with the professional helpers.

In group psychotherapy, above all differences between self-perception and perception of others can be made visible, social interaction can be lived in a protected environment and mutual understanding can be promoted. After several years of therapy, at best, those affected have learned to deal with their strong impulses differently and to regulate their emotions more consciously. However, in some cases at least some psychosocial impairment remains.


In general, psychotherapy is the method of choice for an emotionally unstable personality disorder. If necessary, this can be combined with drug therapy for accompanying symptoms and additional mental illnesses. There is no drug available that is specifically effective for emotionally unstable personality disorders. Depending on the accompanying symptoms and additional mental illnesses, however, different drugs can be used, for example:

  • Antidepressants for depressive symptoms
  • Antipsychotics for altered perception of reality
  • Mood stabilizer or lithium in bipolar mood or for extreme mood swings
  • Opioid receptor antagonists with a strong tendency to dissociation (splitting off memories or parts of the personality)

There is no clear evidence of effectiveness for the sole use of drugs specifically against self-injurious behavior.

What can I do myself?

If you find yourself feeling bad mentally, seek help. You can find contact points under Advice and Help. If you are desperate or fear that you could harm yourself: Call a crisis hotline, contact an emergency or crisis service in your area or a psychiatric ambulance, or call the ambulance on 144. Any these emergency service teams can help you in crisis situations!

Once you have found a psychiatrist and have decided on a therapy, keep your arrangements with them. In addition to the psychotherapeutic sessions, exercises to regulate stress, emotions and behavior from the therapy sessions can be helpful.

What can I do as a relative?

Closer caregivers are sometimes included in the therapy. Especially when it comes to changing behavior and communication, e.g. within a family or relationship, in the interests of successful therapy. Caregivers can then help those affected to better implement their therapy goals. Professional advice for relatives is important, as dealing with people with emotionally unstable personality disorder can be very challenging. For more information, see the HPE (Help for relatives of the mentally ill) website and search for self-help groups.

Note People with personality disorders can have an increased risk of suicide. If a victim speaks of suicide, this must always be taken seriously. The person concerned must by no means be left alone in this situation. It is important to get professional help. You can find more information and contact points under Suicide Prevention.

Whom can I ask?

If you suspect you have a personality disorder, would like to help someone around you, or if you need emotional support as a relative, a specialist in psychiatry or psychotherapist is your first choice. Specialized child and youth psychiatrists are also available for young people under the age of 18. You can also contact a clinical psychologist. For relatives, for example, HPE offers information and support. Under Services, Links and Brochures you will find helpful information on looking for a doctor or therapist as well as looking for self-help groups (also for relatives). In acute crises orIn the event of serious injuries, please call the ambulance immediately on 144.

How are the costs going to be covered?

When making use of psychotherapy, full cost coverage is possible in the health insurance institutions' own or contractually bound institutions, as well as in institutions that are subsidized by the public sector. In these cases, however, there is the option of paying a deductible. Otherwise, you have the option of applying for a subsidy from the health insurance company if you are undergoing psychotherapy with a resident psychotherapist. If this is approved, the health insurance provider will reimburse you for part of the fee paid to the psychotherapist. However, the health insurance carriers only provide a subsidy if there is a so-called disease-related disorder.You can find out more about reimbursement on the website of the social security agency.

In the event of a hospital stay, the hospital costs will be invoiced. The patient has to pay a daily contribution to the costs. For more information, see What does a hospital stay cost?

The responsible social insurance agency bears the costs for medical rehabilitation in a rehabilitation center, although a contribution is provided for the patient. In the case of special social protection needs (e.g. receiving a compensation allowance), the insured person or pension recipient is exempt from this cost contribution.

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