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Mental Health for Teens

Personality Disorder Treatment for Teens

16 Things to know about treatment for teen personality disorders.

Treatment can help teens manage symptoms and live the life they want. Sandstone Care is here to support teens and young adults with mental health and substance use disorders.

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What is a teen personality disorder?

Teens with personality disorders experience long-term patterns of unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

Personality disorders are a group of mental illnesses that can make it difficult to deal with everyday problems and responsibilities.

Personality disorders can also make it difficult for teens to understand others, impacting their relationships with the people around them.

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The signs of BPD
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What are examples of personality disorders?

Examples of personality disorders can include:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

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Can a teen be diagnosed with a personality disorder?

A teen may be diagnosed with certain personality disorders.

According to Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, it is possible to diagnose an adolescent with BPD if they meet the formal criteria and if the features of BPD are present for at least a year.

How Common Are Personality Disorders In Teens?
BPD is one of the most common personality disorders in teens.

According to Adolescent Health, Medicine, and Therapeutics, the prevalence of BPD in the general population of adolescents is 3 percent.

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What are some signs of a personality disorder in teens?

Signs and symptoms can differ based on what kind of personality disorder a teen has.

Symptoms of each personality disorder can be mild or severe. People with personality disorders can sometimes have a hard time realizing they have a personality disorder because they think their thoughts are normal.

It could also be difficult for teens to recognize if some thoughts or behaviors are symptoms of a personality disorder or if it is just related to common teenage experiences.

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Common signs and symptoms of a personality disorder in teens may include:

Intense fear of abandonment
Unstable relationships and friendships
Extreme anger or irritability
Changes in eating patterns
Extreme reactions
Low self-esteem or self-worth
Changes in sleep patterns
Self-harming behaviors or suicidal ideation
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How do I know my teen needs personality disorder treatment?

If the signs and symptoms of a personality disorder are present in your teen over a long period of time or more than one year, it could be time to seek help.

Personality disorders can cause problems in everyday life, including academics, work, social life, and relationships.

Personality disorder treatment can help teens learn how to manage their symptoms and sustain a healthy life.

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider or mental health professional to discuss the best treatment options for your loved ones.

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What can trigger a personality disorder?

Some causes of personality disorders include:

  • Genetics
  • Being diagnosed with childhood conduct disorder (CD)
  • Traumatic or adverse life events
  • Unstable family life

Symptoms of BPD commonly begin between adolescence and early adulthood within various relationships or in different environments such as home, school, or social settings.

What is teen personality disorder treatment?

According to prior belief, there was thought to be no treatment for BPD.

However, there are many ways to treat BPD both psychiatrically and therapeutically.

Psychotherapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy(CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can effectively treat teen personality disorders.

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How can I help my BPD teen?

When helping a teen with BPD, it is important to educate yourself and your teen on BPD. The more you know about it, the better you can help and provide support.

Individuals with BPD and other personality disorders can have a hard time understanding and relate to the people around them.

It is important for them to feel heard and understood. Being patient and empathetic can show that you are there for them no matter what.

Some symptoms of BPD can involve aggression, lying, or destructive behaviors. Try not to take these behaviors personally and understand that they are symptoms of BPD.

If their behaviors become dangerous or put them or others in harm’s way, reach out for professional help. This could be calling 911, their therapist, or taking them to a psychiatric hospital.

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What type of treatment is best for personality disorders in teens?

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is the first line of treatment for people with BPD and other personality disorders.

Common psychotherapies used for BPD and other personality disorders include DBT, CBT, and MBT.

What are the benefits of treatment?

Treatment can help teens and individuals with personality disorders manage their symptoms and live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Other benefits of teen personality disorder treatment can include:

  • Help manage stress
  • Emotion regulation
  • Improved relationships

What happens if a personality disorder is left untreated?

Untreated personality disorders can lead to problems in many aspects of life.

It can make it difficult to maintain or build relationships with others or make socialization difficult.

It can also make it difficult to perform in school or at work. Untreated personality disorders can lead to substance abuse, risky behavior, or binge eating.

Can BPD get better without treatment?

Symptoms of BPD are unique to each person. Sometimes, people can manage the symptoms of BPD without treatment.

However, BPD is not curable and does not go away on its own.


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Therapy Treatments

Explore treatment options for teens with personality disorders

We deliver evidence-based therapy treatment for teens in a number of areas. We’re available 24/7 to answer any questions.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, can help teens identify and change thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors related to their sense of self and others and how they interact.

CBT can help reduce mood swings and anxiety symptoms and help reduce self-harming or suicidal behaviors.

CBT focuses on addressing current problems and finding solutions for them.

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, was created to treat those who were suicidal or diagnosed with BPD.

DBT involves the concept of mindfulness of one’s present situation and emotional state.

DBT can help teens with emotion regulation, work on self-destructive behaviors, and improve their relationships with others.

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Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT)

Mentalization-based therapy, or MBT, can help with an individual’s capacity to mentalize.

Mentalization refers to the ability to understand one’s mental state.

MBT can help people form a secure attachment, which is thought to be unstable in those with BPD.

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Group Therapy

Group therapy can help teens learn coping mechanisms, practice communication skills, and build a strong support network.

Group therapy can be helpful for teens with BPD because it can provide a safe space to share their feelings and experiences.

Group therapy can also be helpful because members can learn and teach from each other and apply those skills in the “real world.”

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Family Therapy

Family involvement is an integral part of the treatment process.

When a family member is diagnosed with BPD, it can affect the whole family.

By taking part in family therapy, individuals can communicate and understand each other better.

Through family therapy, each person is able to talk about how they feel and their experiences. The whole family can learn ways to manage problems, support one another, and come to an understanding of each other.

Academic and Vocational Support
Academic Support

Academic and vocational support is another essential part of teen therapy for personality disorders.

Teens with a personality disorder may have a distorted self-image, low self-esteem, or can have difficulty understanding their identity.

With academic and vocational support, teens are able to envision a life and create goals without their personality disorder defining them.

Teen personality disorders can be treated through psychotherapy such as DBT. Treatment can help teens manage symptoms and live the life they want.

Sandstone Care is here to support teens and young adults with mental health and substance use disorders. Call 888-850-1890

Find Teen Personality Disorder Treatment Centers Near Me

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Virginia Beach Mental Health Center

5040 Corporate Woods Dr., Virginia Beach, Virginia, 23462

(757) 585-3518
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Mental Health
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Mental Health Richmond VA

4880 Sadler Rd., Glen Allen, Virginia, 23060

(804) 494-6144
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Mental Health

Tinley Park Mental Health Center

16325 S Harlem Ave #260, Tinley Park, Illinois, 60477

(708) 905-2509
Age Groups: TeensYoung Adults
Levels of Care: Partial Hospitalization (PHP)Intensive Outpatient (IOP)Assessments
Treatment Programs: Mental Health


You have questions. We have answers.

Our goal is to provide the most helpful information. You can always reach out to us with any questions you may have.

One important part of disciplining a child or teen with BPD is having clear communication.

It can be difficult for a child with BPD to understand or interpret communication the way it is intended. They may also have a strong reaction to certain conversations or comments. It is important to keep this in mind when communicating and disciplining a child with BPD.

It can help to remain calm, non-confrontational, and non-judgmental.

It is also important to validate their feelings.

It can be difficult for a teen or child to experience a wide range of difficult emotions, and sometimes they want to be heard. Letting them know that their feelings matter and that you are there to listen may help ease some of the challenges with BPD.

Setting boundaries is also an important part of disciplining a child with BPD. When setting boundaries, you can consider the needs of your family and what things work best and address them one at a time to be clear and avoid confusion.

When communicating about set boundaries, explain why they are there and how it is for the care, comfort, and safety of everyone in the family.

Symptoms of BPD can involve anger, poor boundaries, and difficulty with impulse control. At times, this can lead to destructive behavior, making it important to set rules and simple consequences that you can enforce.

According to the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, specific features of personality disorders tend to increase in frequency over time.

That is one reason why it is important to get treatment so that people can learn to manage their symptoms and live the life that they want.

BPD is a mental illness that impacts someone’s ability to regulate their emotions.

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) involves a long-term pattern of manipulation, exploitation, or violation of the rights of others.

The symptoms between the two are different.

Someone with ASPD can be good at manipulating other people’s emotions, show little guilt, and act witty or charming.

The symptoms of BPD can include intense mood swings, feelings of emptiness, and a distorted self-image or sense of self.

To be diagnosed with ASPD, you have to be at least 18 years old, but there is no age requirement with BPD.


Cluster B personality disorders have been found to be the most difficult to treat.

This can include antisocial personality disorder, BPD, narcissistic personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder.

BPD has historically been viewed as challenging to treat.

However, newer evidence-based treatments have helped lessen the severity of symptoms and live a better quality of life.

Psychotherapy is the main center of treatment for BPD. However, pharmacotherapy may be recommended for some people.

Some research shows that mood stabilizers can be effective for some symptom clusters and crises for BPD.

Divalproex sodium and valproate were studied in patients with BPD and showed to help with a decrease in agitation signs.

Other examples of mood stabilizers used for individuals with BPD can include topiramate and lamotrigine.

Mood stabilizers for BPD are most effective and typically only used when combined with a form of psychotherapy.

Childhood signs of BPD may include:

  • Hostile worldview
  • Intense or inappropriate emotion
  • Excessively close relationships
  • Lack of sense of self
  • Angry or impulsive
  • Feelings of worthlessness

BPD episodes can vary from person to person.

However, some common signs of a BPD episode may include:

  • Real or imagined fear of abandonment
  • Engaging in impulsive acts
  • High depression or anxiety
  • Intense outbursts of anger
  • Unstable self-image
  • Dissociation is when someone disconnects from their thoughts, feelings, memories, or identity

BPD is commonly treated without medication by using different forms of psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy has proven to be effective in helping treat BPD.

The most common form of psychotherapy for BPD is dialectical behavior therapy, which can help teens and young adults address BPD symptoms by replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthier coping skills.

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