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Similar benefits with dialectical behaviour therapy or general psychiatric management for people with borderline personality disorder

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Question: What are the long-term outcomes for people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) who receive outpatient dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) or general psychiatric management for 1 year?

Patients: In all, 180 adults aged between 18 and 60 years with a diagnosis of BPD (DSM-IV criteria; mean age 30.4 years, 86.1% women, 65% unemployed). Participants were eligible if they had at least two suicidal or non-suicidal self-injurious episodes in the previous 5 years with at least one episode in the previous 3 months. Exclusion criteria included: Substance dependence in the preceding 30 days, diagnosis of psychiatric disorder or bipolar I disorder, delirium, dementia or mental retardation, medical condition precluding psychiatric medications, serious medical condition requiring hospitalisation within the following year.

Setting: Toronto, Canada; 2003−2006 (treatment period).

Intervention: Outpatient DBT versus general psychiatric management for 1 year. DBT was delivered according to treatment manuals and general psychiatric management consisted of psychodynamic psychotherapy, case management and pharmacotherapy. Therapy was delivered by trained therapists for both approaches who attended weekly supervision meetings. There were no …

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  • Sources of funding: The Canadian Institute for Health Research.


  • Competing interests None.