The support of family and friends is critical in the treatment of BPD, as many people with this illness may isolate themselves from these relationships in times of greatest need.
- Look for warning signs. BPD often shows in erratic behavior, shopping sprees, sexual or substance binges and blow-up fights in relationships. If a person is open to it, discuss your friend or family member’s past episodes with them so he or she can clearly recognize the signs early.
- Encourage continued treatment. Family and friends can be most helpful in encouraging someone to engage in proper treatment for this complicated and frustrating illness.
- Understand treatment. If your loved one is in a skills-based approach like DBT, learn the language of these coping strategies and use them to help provide support.
- Speak honestly and kindly. Don’t chide people for failing to be in control or making bad choices. Instead, make specific offers of help and follow through. Tell the person you care about him or her. Ask how he or she feels.
- React calmly. Even if your family member or friend is in a crisis, it’s important to remain calm. Listen to him and make him feel understood, then take the next step toward getting help.