JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Dialectical behaviour therapy for women with borderline personality disorder: 12-month, randomised clinical trial in The Netherlands

Roel Verheul, Louise M C Van Den Bosch, Maarten W J Koeter, Maria A J De Ridder, Theo Stijnen, Wim Van Den Brink
British Journal of Psychiatry 2003, 182: 135-40
12562741

BACKGROUND: Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) is widely considered to be a promising treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, the evidence for its efficacy published thus far should be regarded as preliminary.

AIMS: To compare the effectiveness of DBT with treatment as usual for patients with BPD and to examine the impact of baseline severity on effectiveness.

METHOD: Fifty-eight women with BPD were randomly assigned to either 12 months of DBT or usual treatment in a randomised controlled study. Participants were recruited through clinical referrals from both addiction treatment and psychiatric services. Outcome measures included treatment retention and the course of suicidal, self-mutilating and self-damaging impulsive behaviours.

RESULTS: Dialectical behaviour therapy resulted in better retention rates and greater reductions of self-mutilating and self-damaging impulsive behaviours compared with usual treatment, especially among those with a history of frequent self-mutilation.

CONCLUSIONS: Dialectical behaviour therapy is superior to usual treatment in reducing high-risk behaviours in patients with BPD.

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