Harvard Mental Health Letter

Mentalization-based treatment for borderline personality disorder

A small, long-term study concludes that this therapy is effective.

Borderline personality disorder is one of the most challenging psychiatric disorders to treat. It affects about 2% of people in the general population, but roughly 20% of hospitalized psychiatric patients. The disorder consists of three major components: an unstable sense of self, impulsive thoughts and behaviors, and sudden shifts in mood.

As a result, patients with borderline personality disorder may become suddenly depressed, irritable, anxious, or enraged for no apparent reason. They provoke conflict, even while fearing abandonment. They engage in self-destructive habits such as self-mutilation or substance abuse, and are at higher-than-average risk for suicide.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »