Borderline Personality Disorder: How Effective are Psychotherapies?

Dialectical behavior therapy and psychodynamic treatment approaches in borderline personality disorders (BPDs) are effective in improving patient symptoms and co-morbidities, however the effects may be small. Those are the findings of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

A systemic review of 33 randomized clinical trials, including 2,256 participants, was conducted by a group of international researchers. All of the trial’s participants were diagnosed with BPD, and the researchers divided the studies into stand-alone designs (in which an independent psychotherapy was compared with control interventions) and add-on designs (in which an experimental intervention added to usual treatment was compared with usual treatment alone).

Results showed that the investigated psychotherapies were moderately more effective—as assessed by standardized mean differences (Hedges g)—in terms of borderline symptoms, self-harm and suicide than control interventions in stand-alone designs (g=0.32; 95% CI, 0.14–0.51) and add-on designs (g=0.40; 95% CI, 0.15–0.65).

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