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Re: Borderline Personality Disorder Meds sherryM

Posted by Elizabeth on November 19, 2001, at 11:47:03

In reply to Re: Borderline Personality Disorder Meds sherryM, posted by sherryM on November 17, 2001, at 1:08:11

>Well, I don't know why my message didn't show up so here it goes again. I have been recently diagnosed with BPD. I was told two years ago by my old therapist that I may be bipolar 2.

Because it's been assumed in the past that "personality disorders" don't respond to medication (IMO, this is basically a way for treaters to blame the patient for the ineffectiveness of the treatment), a lot of people who might be considered to have "BPD" are getting diagnosed with bipolar II disorder instead of or in addition to BPD. As a result, bipolar II has been getting increasingly nonspecific and amorphous -- it's hard to know what to expect if all you know about a patient is that she's been diagnosed with "bipolar II."

> I am currently taking neurontin 2700 and wellbutrin 150, a well as klonopin when needed for anxiety attacks. I feel no better after being on this for a month.

Sounds like it's time to try something different, then. Don't get discouraged -- there are so many things that can sometimes help with "borderline" symptoms that it takes quite a while before you start running out of options.

> I am more depressed now and recently started back at my old job and have bouts of crying.

FWIW, I have clinical depression too and I got worse on Wellbutrin. It might be that one of the meds you are taking (maybe Wellbutrin, maybe not) is making things worse rather than better. This is often a problem in bipolar disorder (antidepressants make manic/hypomanic symptoms worse) and panic disorder (antidepressants make the anxiety much worse before they make it better), and my impression (mainly from talking to people at support groups and reading online boards like this one) is that it's common in BPD as well.

> I was in an outpatient program at a hospital. I feel the doctors don't care or know what they are doing.

You're not alone -- lots of people get that impression of doctors. This seems to happen in the hospital (or in day treatment or "partial" programs) especially, and not so much in private individual outpatient treatment.

> I recently met with a new therapist that knows alot about BPD and DBT so I am hopeful.

DBT is supposed to be very helpful for people with BPD, as I'm sure you know. I'd definitely recommend that you try to get into a program. A good DBT program should include group "skills training" sessions and individual DBT therapy. An optional component, but one that I think could be helpful as well, is interpersonal group therapy (in addition to the skills training groups and the individual therapy) with other people who have BPD.

> I just want to get well, get on the right meds.

Most people with BPD do want to get well, and it doesn't help at all when frustrated clinicians start implying that BPD patients/clients aren't getting better because they don't want to.

> I am currently in a relationship of 9 months but my illness is puttin a big strain on it. He is trying to be understanding and supportive.

Yes, I'm familiar with that. :-( I became involved in a wonderful relationship within a month after I entered college, and it lasted six years. He was one of the first people I met when I got to college, and I almost immediately felt certain that he was someone I would become close to. We had so much in common -- we shared values, interests, a quirky sense of humor, etc. -- and I couldn't imagine a man who would be a better match for me (I still haven't found one who comes close). I'm a pretty unconventional and eccentric person, and so is he, so we had an intuitive understanding for one another from the day we met. He was also unexpectedly open-minded and understanding about my depression even though he had never been depressed himself (he made a serious and, to a point, successful effort to educate himself about depression and to understand why he couldn't "cheer me up"). He also helped me through some pretty bad spots. But a little while before I graduated, I started becoming very badly depressed, worse than it had ever been before, and our relationship started getting strained. He kept trying to make things work for a long time, but in the end it was too much for him. So when he got his doctorate and went to work for the Department of Energy, I didn't follow (although I did go to visit him for a week once, and we still keep in touch). I don't know what I could have done to make things different, but I still regret that I wasn't able to make that relationship work out.

> I am financially behind after taking a 7 week leave from work to go to the hospital program that I don't feel helped me much. I am a widowed mom of 4 children. This all adds to my stress which definatley doesn't help the depression. I still have suicidal thoughts continually. I would rather just not exist.

*hug* Children are wonderful, but they're also stressful, especially for single parents. Do you have family who could help you out while you focus on getting better?

Another thought: perhaps you can find strength in the special connection you have to your children. I've known a lot of people who found that during hard times, their love for their children kept them going.

About meds -- like I said, there are dozens of options, and it's hard to find the right thing on the first try. Mood stabilizers can help with mood swings and impulsivity. Antidepressants can help with feelings of anger and despair, moodiness, and impulsive or compulsive behaviors. Some people find atypical antipsychotics
Psychostimulants (such as Ritalin) can often help with mood and impulse-control problems as well as lethargy. Finally, one thing that hasn't received much press but might turn out to be important is naltrexone, an opiate antagonist that some people say can really relieve dissociative symptoms and compulsive self-injurious behavior; it's also proven helpful in relieving cravings for alcohol and opioids (like heroin) for those who are addicted, which is a common problem for people with BPD.

I hope this has helped. I posted earlier about the different medications if you'd like more details there.

Don't give up!

Best wishes,




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