(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new type of treatment has proven to be much more successful in reducing suicidal behavior in women.An estimated 5.8 million to 8.7 million Americans, mainly women, suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is a severe and persistent mental disorder, often marked by emotional instability, difficulty in maintaining close relationships, eating disorders, impulsivity, addictive behaviors towards drugs and alcohol, and a very high suicide rate. Women with BPD have a major impact on the medical system because they are among the highest users of emergency and in-patient medical services.The University of Washington's Behavioral Research and Training Clinic conducted a study to determine if the specific elements of dialectal behavioral therapy (DBT) are more effective for BPD than the treatment offered by skilled therapists in non-behavioral psychotherapy.UW's study involved 101 women between ages 18 and 45 who met the criteria for BPD. They participated in a one-year controlled trial of undergoing either DBT or one year of community treatment by experts.Half of the women were assigned to therapists who were trained in DBT. They received weekly group skills training and telephone access to their therapist for one year. The other half were assigned to one of a group of expert therapists nominated by the community mental health leaders. These therapists were told to provide the type and amount of therapy believed to be best suited to each patient, with a minimum of one individual session a week. Both groups of women were tracked every four months and underwent one year of post-treatment follow up. Subjects receiving DBT were half as likely to make a suicide attempt, required less hospitalization for suicide ideation, were less likely to drop out of treatment, and required less psychiatric emergency department visits."People with borderline personality disorder have difficulty regulating their emotion and their lives so dialectical behavior therapy is designed to help clients build a life worth living. Not only do they attach to us, we attach to them," reports Marsha Linehan a psychology professor at UW.This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.
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