People with borderline personality disorder and their families have at
their disposal a wellspring of information about the causes, course, and
treatment of the disorder through the Borderline Personality Disorder Resource
Family members of people with borderline personality disorder established
the center in late 2003 using private donations.
The resource center, which is affiliated with and located adjacent to the
New York-Presbyterian Hospital—Westchester Division in White Plains,
N.Y., also functions as a source of referrals for people seeking treatment for
borderline personality disorder around the country.
"Through the resource center, we have been able to assist the many
patients who call us for help in locating the best treatment available to them
in their communities," said the center's clinical director, Otto
Kernberg, M.D., in an interview with Psychiatric News.
The center's referral database includes about 250 referral sources for
those seeking treatment for borderline personality disorder. These include
inpatient programs, outpatient programs, residential treatment centers, and
The Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center provides an
abundance of information for people with borderline personality disorder and
for their families.
In addition, the resource center houses a library of books on many aspects
of borderline personality disorder, ranging from etiology and treatment to
personal accounts written by people with the disorder.
Kernberg, who is also director of New York-Presbyterian Hospital's
Personality Disorders Institute, pointed out that a large number of people
with borderline personality disorder are misdiagnosed and therefore do not
receive appropriate treatment.
Once they do receive the right diagnosis and treatment, they can achieve
some level of stability and enjoy meaningful lives, he added.
Psychotherapeutic approaches that have been helpful to people with
borderline personality disorder include dialectic-behavioral therapy,
transference-focused psychotherapy (developed by Kernberg),
cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and supportive
According to information listed on the BPDRC Web site, pharmacological
treatments "are often prescribed based on specific target
symptoms" experienced by the patient. For instance, antidepressant drugs
and mood stabilizers may alleviate depressed and/or labile mood, and
antipsychotic drugs are used when thought distortion or anxiety is
Lithium is "sometimes helpful" and "may make it possible
to use lower doses of other drugs," the Web site notes.
Kernberg emphasized that "while we have become much better at
treating patients with borderline personality disorder in recent years, that
doesn't mean we are able to help everyone at all times."
He also pointed out that the center does not endorse one type of therapy
According to Eliza Whoriskey, M.A., administrative manager of the BPDRC,
more than half of the calls coming into the center are from patients or family
members looking for referrals to an expert in their area.
Since the center opened, Whoriskey said, there have been approximately 900
calls from patients, 720 calls from family members of patients, and 180 calls
from mental health professionals seeking information about borderline
Whoriskey said she sometimes relies on the clinical expertise of Kernberg
and his staff at the Personality Disorders Institute to field phone
Inquiries can also be made in person or via e-mail, but the vast majority
of inquiries come through the center's toll-free number, according to
Whoriskey. She will be staffing a booth about the center at APA's 2005 annual
meeting next month in Atlanta.
In addition to disseminating up-to-date information to the public, the
center has plans to award those who have demonstrated outstanding achievement
in borderline personality disorder clinical work or research.
The awardee will receive $5,000, a plaque, and a presentation dinner in his
or her honor.
More information about the Borderline Personality Disorder Resource
Center and its first annual Award for Distinguished Achievement is posted