Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by unstable moods, impulsiveness, a fear of abandonment, unstable and intense personal relationships and recurrent suicide attempts. Rates of the disorder range from 0.7% in Norway to 1.8% in the U.S. 10% of people with borderline personality disorder commit suicide ; fifty times the rate of the rest of the population. One of the most promising treatments for the condition is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) which was developed by Marsha Linehan in the 1980s and is a mixture of cognitive behaviour therapy and Eastern meditative philosophy. It aims to reduce life-threatening and suicidal behaviour and increase coping skills by improving mindfulness (living 'in the moment'), the ability to tolerate distress, personal relationships and the ability to govern one's emotions. A trial of a six-month programme of DBT on eleven women with BPD in Australia found that it was effective in reducing the number of suicide attempts. The women in the study needed less help from mental health services and their psychological, social and occupational functioning all improved. They also suffered less from depression at the end of the study.

Prendergast, Nicole and McCausland, Jean - Dialectic behaviour therapy : a 12-month collaborative program in a local community setting Behaviour Change 24(1), 2007, 25-35

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