Need for Borderline Personality Disorder Patient Advocates

October 5, 2010 Becky Oberg

I once heard that almost half of all people with schizophrenia have difficulty getting medical treatment for physical problems when their doctors are aware of their psychiatric diagnosis. Based on my experience, the percentage of this problem is much higher for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and this is why having a patient advocate on your side may prove invaluable.

Diagnosed BPD and Wishing I Had A Patient Advocate

Patient advocates can play an important role for people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder

In 2008, I was sent to Richmond State Hospital in Indiana, basically to wait for an open bed in an inpatient unit for people with BPD. While there, staff refused to accept my medical history--even with documentation from a hospital in Indianapolis. I remember explaining multiple times that I have seborrhoeic dermatitis, only to have the staff member make a derogatory comment and penalize me for the symptoms.

I also have exercise-induced asthma, which is affected by the weather. I sometimes use an inhaler to alleviate the symptoms, and arrived at Richmond with a prescription for it.

One day, I began wheezing while exercising outside. I signaled for help, and was taken back to the unit. I asked for my inhaler. The charge nurse told me that although I had a prescription for it, the staff had not filled it--citing concerns of addiction.

I have no history of prescription drug abuse.

When it became clear that I was not “faking” my symptoms, the nurse opened another patient’s unused inhaler, said his name and that he was on the same type of inhaler, and handed it to me. I'm still not sure how many laws that broke.

The next day, I asked to exercise on the unit instead of outside. When the nurse balked, I explained I was concerned I might have another asthma attack. She told me I was overreacting.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Attention Seeking Behavior


That mentality is precisely why people with BPD need to have someone help advocate for medical treatment. If you've been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, it is not unusual for medical personnel and therapists to attribute cries for help (medical, emotional or psychological) as attention seeking behavior.

If you need a patient advocate, here's what you should do:

  1. Have documentation of all medical issues that you may need treatment for. Keep one copy for yourself, and give the other to your advocate. The road to treatment is paved with paperwork. As the saying goes, “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.”
  2. Bring your advocate with you to appointments or tests, or to any discussions involving your treatment. Sometimes doctors are more likely to believe the advocate than the patient.
  3. If you have trouble getting medical treatment, have your advocate document your requests and the refusals. Be as specific as possible—time, date, nature of request, way denial was phrased.
  4. Sometimes, changing doctors may solve the problem, although this is not always possible. You shouldn’t have to beg for medical treatment. A patient advocate may be able to keep that from happening.

Another helpful tool is learning how to speak out and stand up for yourself. Be your own patient advocate.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2010, October 5). Need for Borderline Personality Disorder Patient Advocates, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, April 19 from

Author: Becky Oberg

Vanessa Carter
June, 25 2017 at 7:44 pm

Wild . Right ? Not really . They only helped my baby that night because it was helpful to them . They could run the ER w out insesant shrills . Disturbing stuff . Yea I said it .

Vanessa Carter
June, 25 2017 at 7:39 pm

I live in south Ga . I pray forward thinking people such as Mellissa the nurse from Atl . She saw my child suffering . To be honest my child was disturbing the entire ER , she got frightened from a deep sleep and couldn't stop screaming . Ketamine is not a standard here in the boro . Because she disrupted the entire ER they got progressive . My child was instantly herself after the I V .

Moneique Moralez
March, 31 2014 at 9:58 am

Every time I go to either a doctor or the ER for help with a physical ailment, I'm told I'm fine and its all in my head that I need to seek help for my mental condition. If its someone who has never met me, I get treated with respect, dignity, and concern until they view my file. Once they see my diagnoses, they turn into rude, disrespectful, jerks who act like I'm a huge inconvenience to have there and assume I'm there to gain some sort of drug. On occasion this is the first thing out of their mouths, " I'm not giving you any pills, just so you understand", my response is usually something that only makes it worse, but I feel I have a right to be offended. I try my best to stay away from doctors or hospitals for this reason regardless if its an emergency or not. They have now me gun shy to seek help for any ailments period.

medical Technologist
November, 22 2010 at 5:57 am

Thanks for some quality points there. I am kind of new to online , so I printed this off to put in my file, any better way to go about keeping track of it then printing?

kevin blumer
November, 20 2010 at 1:51 pm

your probably right but treatment for borderline personality is very hard or they say that we are hard to get on with im still waiting for my treatment alvou they say that they want to test my willingness to last in the treatment program im struggeling to get my CPN back since ive moved to another side of the country

Becky Oberg
October, 29 2010 at 4:08 am


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In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vanessa Carter
June, 25 2017 at 5:13 pm

My daughter took her life in 2016. The most damaging aspects of her disease was the discrimination and mistreatment that she received from the very people who were there to help her . I would do anything to advocate for BPD . I am appalled at the way she and I both were treated .

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vanessa Carter
June, 25 2017 at 7:52 pm

People this borderlines inhumane . These are our sickest gifts . The confused ones . Oh I pray somebody somewhere tries . Either way me and my loved one was thick as thieves ..... I can't wait to see her again . But untill then I would like to see some folks get uncomfortable . My desire is to try and make it better . For the next special folks ..... but you know , we find a damn way .

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