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Am J Addict. 1999 Fall;8(4):279-92.

Dialectical behavior therapy for patients with borderline personality disorder and drug-dependence.

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Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-1525, USA.


A randomized clinical trial was conducted to evaluate whether Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), an effective cognitive-behavioral treatment for suicidal individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), would also be effective for drug-dependent women with BPD when compared with treatment-as-usual (TAU) in the community. Subjects were randomly assigned to either DBT or TAU for a year of treatment. Subjects were assessed at 4, 8, and 12 months, and at a 16-month follow-up. Subjects assigned to DBT had significantly greater reductions in drug abuse measured both by structured interviews and urinalyses throughout the treatment year and at follow-up than did subjects assigned to TAU. DBT also maintained subjects in treatment better than did TAU, and subjects assigned to DBT had significantly greater gains in global and social adjustment at follow-up than did those assigned to TAU. DBT has been shown to be more effective than treatment-as-usual in treating drug abuse in this study, providing more support for DBT as an effective treatment for severely dysfunctional BPD patients across a range of presenting problems.

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