Medication for BPD

I can’t believe I’ve never posted about this. Those with knowledge about BPD know that there is no medicinal “cure” for it. From what I’m told (by professionals), there are medications that can help to ease some of the symptoms of BPD, but none that actually help the diagnosis as a whole.

I, myself, have tried a number of different medications, to no avail. When I was 12, I was first diagnosed with depression. At that time they put me on Paxil, which helped. I took that for about a year and then weened off of it to try and keep doing well on my own. I think that lasted about as long as the medication was in my system.

In my early 20’s, I tried Paxil again only to find that not only did it not work for me anymore, but it made me feel like I was in a panic attack for a couple of hours after taking the very first dose. It was so bad, I debated calling an ambulance for myself because the feeling was terrifying.

After that, they tried putting me on Celexa. That was also bad news. It had the opposite effect. You know how they warn you that at times anti-depressants can make you feel worse to the point of feeling suicidal, etc. Well, that was me. I was emotionally numb and openly and verbally expressed not caring if I hurt anyone and was ready to kill myself. That is very much not me at all and so they took me off of that one right away. SSRI’s don’t seem to work well for me.

Next was Wellbutrin for depression, Buspar for anxiety, Klonopin for more severe episodes of anxiety and intense emotions, and Ambien for sleep. Ambien was great. I slept for a full 5 hours, no nightmares (at least none I could remember), no BPD episodes from about 15 minutes after I’d take it, and no zombie-ish feeling when I woke up. The downside was the memory issues and the weird crap I would say and do while on it. Buspar helped the panic attacks to stop but didn’t decrease my anxiety beyond that. Klonopin helped when things would get intense. I liked that one. The only downside is sometimes it would make me sleepy, but sleepy was way better than ‘raging out of control borderline’. Wellbutrin did absolutely nothing for me at all but steal my appetite and make me lose weight I didn’t have to spare. Oh, and then they added Abilify, but again, nothing.

Daily anxiety isn’t my main concern. It’s annoying, yes, but I don’t have panic attacks anymore unless I’m in some severe emotional dysregulation. It’s those severe moments of emotional dysregulation that are my biggest concern, and secondary is my rapidly changing moods/severe sensitivity.

I’ve done some reading and have read that Tegretol can be excellent for those moments. It is fast acting and can help to bring you back down. It’s used as needed (from what I’ve read in regards to treating for BPD), and can be very successful, sometimes with or without a partner medication (depending on the patient).

I’d like to have my Klonopin back, if not some sort of anti-psychotic or mood stabilizer, and maybe my Ambien which I really only care to use for the severely dysregulated times that I simply cannot sleep, which really only adds to the severity of my mental and emotional state. I don’t like medications that need taken on a daily basis and prefer the “as needed” type.

So does anyone take anything that they find really helps? Anything that really didn’t help? I know we are all different and will all respond differently to the same medications. I guess I’m looking to see if a particular “group” of medications tends to offer more benefit to BPD over the others.


15 thoughts on “Medication for BPD

    1. Trazadone didn’t work at all for me for sleep but that’s great that it works for you. I know what you mean with Wellbutrin. Maybe you should see about trying something else??

  1. Hey kid.
    This say I:

    One thing I used to love about living in the Rockies was that it’s like you’ve always seen on the maps. The Great Midwestern Plain stops, my beloved mountains start. Granted, they start at a little over a mile high, but drive fifteen miles into the mountains, and you gain three thousand feet in altitude. For me, it was also attitude, and while you’re making that ride, the “foothills” around you are spiking at another fifteen hundred / two thousand feet higher.
    The Sierras pussyfoot a bit more. The foothills go on for a while into the High Country into the mountains eventually.
    Physically and spiritually, I am more in tune with the Rockies.
    Emotionally, I’m their bitch – the Sierras.
    My anxiety kicks in shortly after the sleepy dirt is washed from my eyes. It’s always there to one degree or another. I rarely have panic attacks.
    Xanax (like Valium and Buspar) is a Rockies type of med: you all of a sudden come to a massive peak, it helps you over it. Fact is, it’s in and out of your system relatively quickly.
    Klonopin is more like the Sierras: you can’t quite see the change in altitude as you travel, but you can start to feel it according to your surroundings. It evens out the peaks and the valleys. It is longer lasting than Xanax while it does take longer to work its voodoo.
    When I had what they thought was a stroke, they stopped every med I was on, including the Xanax. I also stopped dealing with the psychiatrist I was seeing at the time, switched to a different one. That psychiatrist switched me from the Xanax to Klonopin for those reasons: they were better at keeping me on an even keel while the Xanax prevented the spikes I rarely had.
    I’m with you on the Klonopin, and that covers Anxiety for me.

    Wellbutrin, Paxil, Zoloft – pheh.
    Effexor does more to ease the intensity of my bouts with ever-present Depression better than any of them.
    You’re right: ain’t no meds known to man, the AMA or Columbian farmers that “cure” any of the mental illnesses, but they can help with the production of the whatevers your brain is seriously lacking, but that just makes you feel a little less fragile than the porcelain Tinkerbelle you might be by nature.
    So much of Mental Illness is based in environmental and personal factors, like I need to tell you ’bout that, huh?
    And that covers Depression for me.

    Liz. BPD.
    Effexor, Klonopin. Better combination than the ones they tried during her SH/suicidal era.
    Geodon and Trileptal (mood stabilizers) are somewhat like the Klonopin for her in the sense that she’ll have her mood changes just the same as always, but they can make the transitions less disruptive. She can vouch for that.
    I can vouch for the fact that she can see those transitions coming, acknowledge their impending arrival, and the DBT kicks in as do the Geodon and Trileptal.
    The changes are at least manageable, mostly to an appreciable degree.

    And, of course, good music, a bankie and a Panda never hurt. A BDD (Big Damn Doggie) is like the best therapist in the world and knows when to shut the fuck up and listen. And lick your face, usually shortly after they licked their balls, but that’s part of their charm.

    Meds are band-aids in ways, crutches in another, but if you have an open sore or a busted ankle, you’re gonna need them.
    I need what I take, Liz what she takes, but emotional sores and dislocations often never fully leave, so we take our meds.
    “As needed” I like, and Ambien is like that for me too. Even though they tell you to make sure you have eight full hours to sleep, for me it’s ten or more: they help me get to sleep, I might very well wake up after four hours, wide awake for two, and then back to Never Never Land for another four.

    And the ‘net.
    Anything more complicated than my Fantasy League stats and how to set my line-up for next week, or for lyrics to an obscure Quicksilver song from the B side of their sophomore album…
    I don’t look for answers. I look for more questions I need to ask my doctor or attorney or guru or Yoda…
    or my BDD.

    Ask about the Geodon and Trileptal. Like I said, they’ve worked really well for her. Better than Abilify, which had her up until 3AM painting mandalas and mopping (before her back went out).
    The Geodon, though, can goose your metabolism and cause spasmodic side effects.

    And don’t forget the music and the Panda.

    Stay well and happy. Hope you had a good Fourth.
    Have someone give you a hug for me, give you a kiss on the forehead as long as they just didn’t just get done with lickin

    Never mind. Bad image.


    1. I will check on those meds. I know they don’t eliminate the mood disruptions but I remember it being less intense. It was more like a closer to shore wave than a hurricane surfer wave. More tolerable and because I was partially “sedated”, I wasn’t really destructive and didn’t quite feel as “out of control”. It took away that “Omg I am going to die” feeling. If I remember right.

      Anyway, thank you!!

  2. I have only ever tried ssri’s. Prozac worked for me a few years ago but when I had my last relapse and went back on it I became much worse. I have been taking 150mg sertraline for the last 2 years. The constant depression has certainly gone so it must have worked for that. Still struggle with the sudden and extreme changes in moods though 😦

    1. Ugh. Depression is horrible but I don’t deal with it as much as or badly as I used to. I just don’t feel like I need an anti-depressant.

      I’m happy to hear that you’ve found one that works for your depression, though. That’s important. Any relief is good, though I know the moodiness would be great to get under control.

  3. I, too, have had issues since I was about 12. Suicidal thoughts since then… Didn’t get on medication til I was 17. I’ve been on what feels like just about everything. Wellbutrin made me suicidal; Paxil took away my sex drive and made me sweat; Abilify made me have crazy movements; Depakote and Lamictal made me a zombie; Ambien was ok; Seroquel did nothing; Trazadone did nothing; Cymbalta was okay for awhile. Lots of nausea with it. Effexor was good. On it’s sister, Pristiq now. Also on Topamax and Xanax… Lowest doses of meds I’ve ever been on. But I’m also really working on self awareness and DBT. Self soothing methods and trying to track what upsets me. Noticed I feel better when I eat better and exercise but sometimes nothing helps the deep chronic depression. You’re not alone. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar until I was 25. 30 now. What a new world of hope and light to be introduced to DBT… Changed and probably saved my life. Thank you for sharing your story. – Ali

    1. Hello. Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you’re closer to finding the cocktail that works for you. I tried Xanax once and it put me right to sleep. I felt like I was on drugs (not prescribed ones).

      I agree that DBT is a literal lifesaver. It is very hard work but worth it. I feel like I’m being given the handbook to a normal mind.

      How far along are you with DBT?

  4. I’ve tried all types of meds to help with my symptoms and after 3 1/2 years of trying and nothing helping, I was put on Wellbutrin. I was in hospital in the time and after I had been on it for a couple of weeks and went up to the max dosage, my mood lifted. My mood had never lifted in the 3 1/2 years and we knew that it was down to the Wellbutrin.

    But since I left hospital 2 months ago now, my life situation is just horrible and I am feeling very depressed again. Obviously, medications can only do so much and it’s not going to change my life situation, so my mood is very low.

    I also started getting the worst anxiety I have ever had upon leaving the hospital 2 months ago, really crippling stuff, and Clonex stopped working so I switched to Valium, That did nothing so I went back to Clonex as it would help ever so slightly. But since, I have noticed that I am constantly in a state of panic with my heartbeat out of the roof, really fast. So I went to my family doctor about it because no psych meds were helping. She made me go every couple of days for ECGs and to check my blood pressure and heart rate and every time, they saw it was out of the roof. My family doctor said how unhealthy this is for my heart to be going in overdrive all the time and it’s dangerous so she put me on a beta blocker which I first of all took once a day, then twice and now I am taking it three times a day and it helps better than any Benzos like Clonex and Valium! I still have anxiety, but because the beta blocker slows my heart rate down, it therefore calms me with the anxiety so it’s not as strong. Funny how non-psych meds can help for other things.

    I’m also on Lamictal and Seroquel but I and my doctor knows that they do nothing… We know that I need therapy more than medications and that medications do hardly anything for me. I need therapy and to sort my life out so I can naturally learn how to cope with things along with being happier in life because of the situation and not something chemically in my brain. Problem is I don’t know how to change things as much as I try so it feels like nothing is ever going to change with me and I am horribly down and depressed and anxious about everything.

    On we go….

    1. Therapy is always important. I think meds are best used to ease the intensity of the symptoms so therapy can be more effective, but I relate to when medicine just simply does not work.

      Are you in therapy now? If you ever need to talk about anything, I don’t mind being a sounding board.

      1. Thank you Mandi. I appreciate it.

        Oh I am sound boarding on my blog! Plenty of that going on there.

        I’ve been in therapy most of the time for the last 4 years. Had three therapists. First I was with privately for 10 months until she sat me down and told me that she can’t help me and I need to find someone else. Then I was in hospital for the most part of 2 years and had a therapist there. She was lovely but had no experience in BPD and she just sat there and listened and agreed with me etc and I only saw after that I didn’t progress because of that. Then after being raped in December of last year, I went in to hospital for 4 months because I went in to dissociation because of the trauma and I had a therapist in hospital that also sat and listened and again I saw it does nothing.

        Now I have been waiting 2 months on a waiting list in order to get therapy but I haven’t heard anything yet and they don’t say how long I have to wait. And I don’t know what therapist it will be so I’m not sure once again if it’s going to be what I need and I am unable to choose a therapist. And on the waiting list for the very important DBT but that’s been several months and gawd knows how much longer I’m going to have to wait for that.

        I’m unable to help myself even though I try but I don’t know if others are going to be able to help me too according to my experiences so far… so hopelessness is the feeling! Who knows what will become of me. It’s scary to think because I just can’t stand life and it’s been for a LONG time already!

      2. I know what you’re going through. Finding the right therapist is hard work, especially when your diagnosis is BPD. Not just any therapist will do, and they seem to be rare; the ones that can help with BPD.

        Self-help with BPD is also very hard. I tried that for a few years because I couldn’t find a therapist either. For myself, I felt like I could only go so far on my own, and it wasn’t very far at all.

        The waiting list thing I’m sure is a variety of things; frustrating, discouraging, to name just two. It’s hard to just “hang in there” because I know the pain of it all is so overwhelming, some times more than others.

        It is good that you are blogging. That’s a great coping skill. I know it is scary. You are not alone in that place.

  5. I have bpd but also bipolar. So meds probably work better on me. But my bipolar was diagnosed after the bpd and I was put on meds first. My friend is also solely bpd and on the same meds and does well.

    They are:
    Lamictal (mood stabalizar)
    Topamax (mood stabalizer)

    I am additionally on (not my friend) wellbutrin (atypical antidepressant) and buspar (antianxiety) then ambien as needed for sleep.

    As most have said therapy is important too though. I have noticed trauma therapy (rather than DBT) has helped me the most with my emotions/bpd though as much of it stemmed from past abuse

    1. This was great to hear. My therapist told me that I should try EMDR (trauma therapy). I’ve read good things about it so it’s good to hear from someone directly. Thank you as well for the med feedback.

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