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Axis II comorbidity of borderline personality disorder: description of 6-year course and prediction to time-to-remission

M C Zanarini, F R Frankenburg, A A Vujanovic, J Hennen, D B Reich, K R Silk
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2004, 110 (6): 416-20
15521825

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the axis II comorbidity of 202 patients whose borderline personality disorder (BPD) remitted over 6 years of prospective follow-up to that of 88 whose BPD never remitted.

METHOD: The axis II comorbidity of 290 patients meeting both DIB-R and DSM-III-R criteria for BPD was assessed at baseline using a semistructured interview of demonstrated reliability. Over 96% of surviving patients were reinterviewed about their co-occurring axis II disorders blind to all previously collected information at three distinct follow-up waves: 2-, 4-, and 6-year follow-up.

RESULTS: Both remitted and non-remitted borderline patients experienced declining rates of most types of axis II disorders over time. However, the rates of avoidant, dependent, and self-defeating personality disorders remained high among non-remitted borderline patients. Additionally, the absence of these three disorders was found to be significantly correlated with a borderline patient's likelihood-of-remission and time-to-remission; self-defeating personality disorder by a factor of 4, dependent personality disorder by a factor of 3 1/2, and avoidant personality disorder by a factor of almost 2.

CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that axis II disorders co-occur less commonly with BPD over time, particularly for remitted borderline patients. They also suggest that anxious cluster disorders are the axis II disorders which most impede symptomatic remission from BPD.

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