Teenagers are full of emotions as they navigate some of the most formative years of their life. While it’s easy to use these years as a scapegoat for certain behaviors, sometimes there is more to it. Borderline personality disorder in teens is a health condition that impacts more teenagers than people realize, and here is what you need to know.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescence?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that greatly affects people’s moods, behaviors, and how they view themselves. This condition can affect teenagers just as easily as it can adults. Knowing what symptoms to look for in teenagers can help parents decide if medical intervention is needed.
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder in adolescence include:
- Intense mood swings
- Outbursts of extreme anger
- Intense fear of abandonment
- Poor self-image
- Self-harm and self-destructive tendencies
People who have borderline personality disorder go through life experiencing extreme emotions. These emotions can easily become overwhelming which leads to outbursts and damaging behaviors. This makes life difficult to navigate as it is nearly impossible to cope at times.
A borderline personality disorder may not look the same for everyone. Some people may struggle with more symptoms than others and some cases may be more or less extreme. Regardless, all symptoms should be taken seriously and addressed, especially when dealing with children and teenagers.
What is the cause of Borderline Personality Disorder in teens?
There are a couple of things that are believed to cause borderline personality disorder in teens. Genetics are believed to play a big part and it is not uncommon for multiple people in one family to have it. In other words, a teenager with a parent who has the same condition is more likely to later be diagnosed with the same thing.
The way children grow up can also be a reason for having Borderline Personality Disorder. Kids who experience any type of abuse, neglect, or extreme family stresses are the most at risk. People who experience these types of events so young are often left with their emotional needs not being met. Over time, the suppressed emotions bottle up and take a serious mental toll on teenagers resulting in this condition for some.
How can Borderline Personality Disorder in teens be diagnosed?
To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder one must visit a licensed health professional. They will then gather as much information as possible such as what the teen’s symptoms are. They will then have a conversation with the patient and really dive deep to get to the root of the problem.
In order to properly diagnose a teenager with borderline personality disorder, the doctor must understand how the teen thinks and why they act the way they do. In other words, are they using substances to mask their pain and emotions? Knowing why they do what they do will help the doctor better understand their thought processes and provide a confident diagnosis.
What is the treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescence?
There are two main forms of treatment available for those with borderline personality disorder, therapy, and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is great because it helps teens better understand their emotions and thoughts. They then learn various coping mechanisms and ways to change their views on life.
Dialectical behavior therapy is a more hands-on therapy option that is especially helpful for those who deal with anger outbursts or self-destructive tendencies. They will learn coping skills as well as ways to handle stress and regulate their emotions. Both cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy can be taken at the same time or by themselves.
The amount of therapy and specific type of therapy needed is on a case-by-case basis. The best way to know which therapy is right for your teenager is by consulting with their doctor. With the right therapy plan in place, changes will happen.
Medication is another treatment option available. Medication helps mask and limit the symptoms of borderline personality disorder as well as other mental health conditions such as depression. Though mediation helps, the best results are seen when it is combined with some form of therapy.
How to parent a teenager with Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder in teens is not only frustrating for the teen themself, but their parents as well. Teens undergoing treatment will do their best when they have a strong emotional support system in place. As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to be as involved in the treatment process as possible.
Parents should never make their children feel bad about their condition but instead, actively work with them on their coping skills and provide a nurturing home environment. Some parents find that seeking therapy themselves has been a great help. That way they are actively working on themselves and are able to learn coping skills as well to implement at home. The same goes for families with other children in the picture as their life will likely be impacted as well.
Borderline Personality Disorder in adolescence is a journey
A borderline personality disorder is a serious mental health condition that some teens will sadly face. As a parent, it is important to keep tabs on your children and watch for any symptoms of mental illness such as the ones we discussed today. If you notice a change in your child and are worried about his or her mental health, seek a licensed medical professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Borderline personality disorder will not go away on its own and professional medical intervention is the best thing for your child. This condition is not a life sentence, but instead a hurdle that any family can overcome with the right mindset and determination. With the correct combination of medication and therapy, teens can go on to live happy and healthy adult lives. It all comes down to teamwork as a family and seeking the proper care for your child.