As friends of teens with borderline personality disorder know, maintaining a healthy relationship with a loved one diagnosed with the serious mental illness can be emotionally draining. Many teenagers who suffer from borderline personality disorder experience impulsive behavior and unstable relationships with friends and family members, which can make it difficult for loved ones to remain close to and supportive of the teen with borderline personality disorder. Friendships with a teenager who has borderline personality disorder can also be complicated if the teen has other disorders commonly associated with borderline personality disorder, such as substance abuse and suicidal behavior.
For friends of teens with borderline personality disorder, it is important to remember that their friend has a serious illness that requires medical treatment and a healthy support system. Sometimes simply recognizing that their friend is acting in a manner typical for someone with borderline personality disorder can help them sympathize with their friend instead of taking offense at the friend’s behavior. Try to support your friend by keeping an eye out for any suicidal behavior. People suffering from borderline personality disorder have a much higher rate of suicide attempts and self-harming behaviors. If your friend is suicidal, do not hesitate to call 911, your friend’s doctor, or a trained counselor.
Keep in mind that with treatment, many people with borderline personality disorder improve over time. Understanding your friend’s mental illness and the extra stress it places on you can go a long way to building and strengthening your relationship, even in the most difficult times.