TMS treatment for borderline personality disorder

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is an innovative approach to treating BPD.

It’s a non-invasive therapy that uses magnetic pulses to calm the areas of your brain that control our responses to threats or fears.

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Borderline personality disorder has many symptoms, which tend to fall into four groups. These symptoms can include:

1. Emotional instability:

• Intense anger
• Sadness and sorrow
• Shame and humiliation
• Terror and inexplicable fear
• Emptiness and loneliness
You may have severe mood swings when suffering with BPD and unpredictable changes in mood is one of the key symptoms.

2. Jumbled patterns of thinking (cognitive distortion):

• Feeling as though you are a terrible person
• Wondering whether you truly exist
• Briefly hearing voices or hallucinating
• Experiencing strong beliefs that no one can talk you out of
If you are suffering with severely distorted perception, this can be a sign you are becoming more unwell and it’s important you seek help.

3. Impulsive behaviour:

• Self harm e.g. cutting or burning yourself
• Reckless drinking/drug misuse
• Irresponsible spending or gambling
• Unsafe sex

4. Unstable relationships:

• Feeling abandoned by those you love
• Feeling the opposite and as though you are being smothered with love
• Experiencing a frantic urge to stop people leaving you
• Believing relationships are black and white with no grey areas e.g. believing your partner either loves you intensely or telling them to leave rather than appreciating they are cross, tired or busy

Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, can be difficult for psychiatrists to diagnose because the symptoms can be so varied.

There are no drugs currently licensed by NICE (the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence in the UK) for the treatment of BPD.

The NICE guidelines recommend two types of therapy for BPD:

• Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), which works to identify negative thought patterns and introduce positive thoughts and behaviours
• Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT), which looks into the experiences that could have caused you to think and feel the way you do

It's recognised that the research evidence for treatment of borderline personality is weak and DBT tends to only be effective for symptoms of deliberate self-harm.

BPD does tend to improve with age, but research also suggests that suicide rates are up to 50 times higher in BPD sufferers than in those without BPD. This highlights how vital effective treatment is while the disorder is at its worst.

TMS treatment work for borderline personality disorder

How does it work?

TMS can help you to feel more stable and in control of your feelings.

TMS calms the activity in the area of the brain that causes BPD to improve mood. It only treats the brain circuits involved in your condition, rather than flooding the brain with chemicals.

The treatment prescribed for BPD will consist of 30 sessions, split into two courses of 15 sessions. These sessions are booked over three to six weeks, with each session lasting 30 minutes each. Some patients are able to have more than one session in a day.

According to psychiatrists, BPD is a particularly tricky condition to assess and treat, which can leave patients without many treatment options. Research shows that TMS is effective in reducing anger and impulsive behaviour and improving unstable moods.

If you suffer from BPD, you are likely to suffer depression, too. Research into treating both conditions with TMS shows significant improvements in the symptoms of depression, allowing you to focus on accepting that your feelings are real and accepted and reducing impulsive behaviours.


Most people are suitable to receive TMS treatment.

Try our quick 2 minute questionnaire to see whether TMS treatment could help.

TMS Suitability Check

What our patients say

I didn’t know that I had borderline personality until later in my life and didn’t think that I would ever change but my depression and low mood has gone and I can think about what I do before I do it too.

Mr N

My childhood trauma caused my BPD but I found talking therapies difficult and I felt an urge to spend lots of money to make me feel better. Although I still feel low sometimes it isn’t anywhere near as bad as before I had TMS and I get out of my low mood much quicker than before.

Miss C

I felt like BPD had a big stigma attached and I was worried about my colleagues finding out about my diagnosis. While I could only see situations in black and white before, I’m now more able to see all of the shades of grey in between and handle situations much more calmly.

Mr I

Continuous Care

Every patient with borderline personality disorder is likely to have completely individual symptoms. When you reach remission from BPD, we recommend maintaining the improvements with one of our aftercare packages tailored specifically to you.

The Continuous Care aftercare packages recommended to patients treated for BPD is:

Smart TMS On-Demand: Become a member of our Smart TMS On-Demand scheme, entitling you to exclusive discounts on treatment, should you feel that you need it at any point following your treatment.

Have you had TMS treatment for OCD at another clinic? Smart TMS can offer you maintenance therapy, too!

Learn more about Continuous Care

Is TMS right for me?

TMS is a highly effective treatment that is suitable for the majority of patients where other types of treatment have failed.

To help you make up your mind about treatment, our practitioners offer pre-arranged clinic visits to answer any questions you have and show you the TMS machine. Call our friendly patient advisors to find out more.

☎ 0345 222 5678

Is TMS right for you?

Download our brochure for more details and
your questions answered.

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