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ANNUAL REPORT 2003

John Gunderson, MD, director, Borderline Personality Disorder Treament Center

“Lisa is working, she is having meaningful relationships and she is getting along better with her family. She says for the first time in her life, she feels happy.”
 
“I feel like I’d been living in this dark well of hell and was finally pulled out. I have no doubt in my mind that McLean saved my life.”
—LISA SNYDER, living with borderline personality disorder

A life saved, thanks to McLean

Lisa Snyder stayed sober for 13 years before crashing her car after a night of heavy drinking. She was arrested and the next morning, attempted suicide.

That was more than a year ago and ironically, Lisa now credits that night with saving her life. Lisa, 40, turned to clinicians at McLean, where she was evaluated, diagnosed and is now being treated for borderline personality disorder (BPD). Today, she has a new outlook on life, thanks, she says, to the compassionate, expert care she received at the hospital’s new Center for the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.

As a young adult, although she seemed “normal,” Lisa remembers feeling depressed, anxious, lonely and angry. She couldn’t maintain relationships, always worried about what others thought about her and was terrified of being alone. She masked these feelings by drinking.

“People with borderline look fine from a distance, but once you get to know them, it becomes clear there is a problem. They lead desperate lives,” says Center Director John Gunderson, MD.

McLean’s BPD Center offers a unique combination of dialectic behavior, cognitive behavior, psychodynamic and pharmacological therapies, aimed at enhancing self-reliance, psychological well-being and social functioning.

For Lisa, it’s working. “Dr. Gunderson not only knew what I had, he and his staff taught me how to help myself.”

Borderline personality disorder is marked by an ongoing pattern of unstable relationships, poor self-image and impulse control issues. Symptoms generally begin in early adulthood. McLean’s BPD Center offers a full continuum of care in a variety of settings. Staff are specially trained to treat co-existing psychiatric illnesses, particularly, substance abuse and eating disorders.