Dec. 13, 2022

Is diagnosing a still-developing teen with borderline personality disorder harmful or helpful?

I’ve received countless emails, direct messages, and voicemails about borderline personality disorder in teens. This topic is a total hot potato (in other words, it makes many mental health professionals uncomfortable AF.)


Some of the most frequently asked (and Googled) questions as it relates to teenagers and BPD are:


■ How to HELP a teenager with borderline personality disorder

■ How to PARENT a teenager with borderline personality disorder

■ How to DEAL WITH a teenager with borderline personality disorder


To answer those questions, we must first answer a more over-arching and more nuanced question: is it ethical or helpful to slap a still-developing teenager with a personality disorder diagnosis label?


I attempted to tackle this extremely complicated topic by responding to listener questions from parents and teens.


​Questions answered and topics discussed in this episode:

■ Three questions to ask yourself before speaking to avoid impulsive verbal reactions that I learned from the Netflix series "The Crown" (yes, seriously)

■ How to use the “campsite rule” to improve your interpersonal relationships (a term coined by podcaster Dan Savage)

■ Why have providers historically been hesitant to diagnose teenagers with BPD

■ Do parents cause their children to develop BPD?

■ How parents can deal with the guilt that arises when their children develop what seem like BPD traits

■ How to cope with splitting behaviors in teenagers who display BPD traits


Disclaimer: information contained in this podcast episode is for educational and peer-support purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for treatment or consultation with a licensed mental health professional. 


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