Predicting Dropout Will Help Treat BPD

Borderline personality disorder patients may show signs that they are likely to drop out of treatment

(RxWiki News) One obstacle in treating patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the frequent discontinuation of therapy.  New research shows that causes for dropout are identifiable and possibly preventable.

In a preliminary study, patients with a history of suicidal behavior were more likely to drop out of treatment early, in less than three months of treatment. 

In contrast, patients that also had an eating disorder or signs of an avoidant personality ultimately stayed with treatment longer.

"Talk to your psychologist before stopping any therapy"

In a study from the University of Parma, Italy, Chiara De Panfilis, MD and colleagues interviewed 162 patients with BPD to figure out what the most common causes of therapy dropout were.  Once the indicators were identified, they looked at ways to help overcome the obstacles.

If these findings are confirmed through more rigorous scientific study, it could mean leaps and strides for doctors helping patients with BPD stay in treatment. 

For example, if the suicidal issues of the patient can be addressed and are no longer an issue for the patient, the patient is more likely to continue treatment and therapy for BPD. 

Suicidal history as an indicator for early dropout may be considered a secondary issue. If the suicidal behavior is addressed, therapy for the primary issue of BPD can be more directly and successfully treated.

These early results give hope to doctors as it will ultimately help them treat their patients more accurately and more effectively.

The study was published online ahead of print on April 12, 2012 in Psychiatric Research.

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Review Date: 
May 3, 2012