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New hope for an 'untreatable' mental illness

For the first time, a major outcome study has shown that a high percentage of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder can achieve full recovery across the complete range of symptoms. The controlled study, appearing in a recent issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry published by the American Medical Association, shows that a new approach -- Schema Therapy -- is more than twice as effective as a widely practiced psychodynamic approach, Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP). Schema Therapy was also found to be less costly and to have a much lower drop out rate. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has until recent years been considered untreatable, with little scientific justification for longer-term therapy.

This study demonstrates that schema therapy leads to complete recovery in about 50% of the patients, and to significant improvement in two-thirds. The success of the therapy is strongly related to its duration and intensity (two sessions a week for 3 years). The results clearly contradict the prevailing opinion that BPD cannot be fully cured, and that longer-term psychotherapy is ineffective.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Borderline Personality Disorder is found in about 1 to 2.5 percent of the general population--about 5.8 to 8.7 million Americans, most of whom are young women. Patients with the disorder live life on the edge: they're typically impulsive, unstable, exquisitely sensitive to rejection, have regular outbursts of anger, and live daily with extreme emotional pain. They often self-mutilate and make repeated suicide attempts. Identity problems, low stress tolerance, and fears of abandonment also make the disorder difficult for patients and for those who live with them. Many with BPD either cannot work or do not function at levels that could be expected in light of their intellectual capacities. As a result, the disorder carries high medical and societal costs, accounting for more than
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Contact: Michael Darden
mdarden@perfectpitch-media.com
917-868-8780
Perfect Pitch Media Relations, Inc.
10-Oct-2006


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