Missed diagnosis and no treatment: BPD’s risk to adolescents

Katherine lived at the McLean Hospital for six weeks, receiving what is known as dialectical behavior therapy. It teaches people how to recognize emotions that are irrational and tries to provide ways to regulate them. BPD sufferers are taught to fill in cards every day, analyzing their emotions and what they did to bring them under control. It sounds simplistic but Dr. Aguirre says it is effective. “Patients become effectively emotional as opposed to ineffectually emotional,” he said. “You’re going to recognize yourself for who you are but you will be much more effective in dealing with difficult situations.”

The therapy is not a cure. Instead, it is sometimes referred to as a toolbox, giving BPD sufferers ways and means of living with their condition. The therapy is time-consuming and expensive. The final bill to the Duff family came to about $70,000.

The question facing governments in Canada is, can a publicly funded health care program afford to pay for this kind of treatment? Donna Duncan, the CEO of Hincks-Dellcrest, Toronto’s centre for children’s mental health, told W5, “You will find bits and pieces of BPD treatment. But you won’t actually find the comprehensive program in Canada.”

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