4. We are not treatment-resistant and doomed to a life of revolving hospital doors and medication cocktails; we are very much treatable, and capable of living worthwhile lives
It was thought until recent years that patients with BPD were destined to a life of suffering pierced with hospital admissions, and that the condition was chronic and untreatable. However, over the last few decades this belief has shifted dramatically and it is becoming more accepted in the field that the prognosis for the disorder is actually a hopeful one – if the right treatment is available.
Relatively new therapies such as DBT and mentalisation-based therapy (MBT) are at the forefront of treatment for BPD, and it is also recognised that some symptoms of BPD tend to reduce with age, even without intervention. After one 16-year follow-up study of patients with BPD treated at McLean Hospital in Boston, it was found that certain aspects of the illness such as self-harming behaviours had ceased in as high as 99% of patients.
At the same time, it is also important to state that BPD can be fatal. I say this because it is important not to sugar-coat the disorder, as it absolutely does take lives. Whilst it is possible to get well from the disorder or at least learn to manage it, there is no denying that the suicide completion rate of as high 5-10% does exist (Paris & Zweig-Frank, 2001). BPD is indeed a serious disorder. However, it does not have to end in fatality, and more often than not, it does not – especially when the right treatment is available.