January 07, 2020
1 min read

Psychoeducational group intervention benefits patients with borderline personality disorder

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A psychoeducational group intervention proved effective for patients with borderline personality disorder, or BPD, according to results of a randomized controlled study conducted in Italy and published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

“Individual psychotherapeutic interventions, which are often recommended for patients with BPD, are not easily available due to their time and experience requirements as well as an overall lack of dedicated therapists,” Maria Elena Ridolfi, MD, of Fano Outpatients’ Services in Italy, and colleagues wrote. “In the absence of such services, the treatment of BPD often devolves into pharmacotherapy. The benefits shown for psychoeducation groups offer a viable and, almost certainly, a more effective alternative.”

According to Ridolfi and colleagues, prior research has demonstrated the overall and cost-effectiveness of psychoeducation, yet its use in patients with BPD has received limited research and clinical attention. To address this research gap, the researchers assessed the impact of six sessions of a psychoeducational group intervention for BPD in an underserved community-based outpatient setting. They included 96 outpatients with BPD according to DSM-IV criteria. The first 48 patients received the experimental treatment, the rest were assigned to a wait list and all received nonintensive treatment as usual. The researchers used the Zanarini Rating Scale for DSM-IV BPD (ZAN-BPD) at baseline, end of treatment and 2 months after the end of treatment.

They reported significant improvement on all sectors of BPD (P < .001) associated with the psychoeducation intervention group, as well as greater improvements for all sectors except impulsivity. At 2-months follow-up, benefits remained stable, the researchers noted. The wait list effect size was small whereas the intervention group experienced a large effect size. A total of 22 patients (46%) in the psychoeducation group and three (6%) in the wait list group reached the full response rate of a decrease of 50% or greater from baseline in ZAN-BPD total score and were thus considered full responders.

“Overall, the short length, the low cost in staff time and the easy training make group psychoeducation a good candidate for implementation in stepped care or general mental health,” the researchers wrote. – by Joe Gramigna

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures