Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD Treatment Can Succeed for Patients Who Misuse Drugs

There was no significant interaction between having a problem with the use of alcohol or any drug and improvement of symptoms on any scales

BPD Treatment Can Succeed for Patients Who Misuse Drugs

SAN FRANCISCO—If patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and drug misuse are able to complete specialized personality disorder treatment, they will likely experience significant improvement, suggests a study presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

“Participants [in our personality disorder treatment program] having a problem with the use of drugs had a higher dropout rate compared to participants with no problem with any drugs,” wrote poster presenter Jonathan Lafontaine, MD, and coauthors Joel Paris, MD, Ronald Fraser, MD, and Robert S. Biskin, MD, MSc.

poster“However, among those who completed the treatment program, there was a significant decrease in the use of drugs along with significant improvement in terms of symptoms, with no difference between the groups on almost every symptom scale. These results are encouraging.”

The findings stem from a study of 134 patients with a diagnosis or symptoms of BPD, 88% of whom were female. Participants, who had an average age of 35, were referred to a specialized long-term treatment program for severe personality disorders at McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Canada. Among them, 37% reported a substance use problem.

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