Patients who meet criteria for recovery from borderline personality disorder (BPD) are more likely to marry and be parents than those who do not recover, and they are more likely to do so at an older age.
That’s what Mary Zanarini, Ed.D., of McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., reported today at a symposium on long-term outcome for borderline personality disorder at APA’s 2013 annual meeting. During the symposium, Zanarini—who is one of the leading researchers on BPD—discussed findings from the McLean Adult Development Study, which looked at marriage stability and parenting as variables in recovery from BPD. “The study focuses on marriage or living stably with a partner and parenting because they are two of the main markers of successful adult adaptation,” Zanarini told Psychiatric News. “Recovery” from BPD was defined as being symptom-free, having at least one stable close relationship, and being employed.
What’s the take-home message? “Clinicians should know that people with BPD can successfully marry or live with a partner in a stable relationship and become parents. But if they do these things while they are still acutely ill and when they are young, it is not as likely to turn out well as if they wait, symptomatically and psychosocially improve quite a bit, and get a bit older and calmer—[in which case] it is quite likely to turn out well.”
Dr Downey goes on to discuss how Rejection Sensitivityis measured. Not surprising, individuals who have BPD have a high level of rejection sensitivity as a result of the anxious expectation and concern and the resulting sense of threat that is activated by certain situations. Why is this important? Because by understanding the underlying reasons for the anger and rage that gets expressed by their BPD patients, clinicians can become more validating and empathetic in their approach to treatment, and ultimately more effective at treating patients with BPD.
This is among the most important reserach we have featured on the NEABPD blog. NEA recently hosted a Sunday night call-in with professor and researcher Geraldine Downey, Ph.D. Vice Provost Downey is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Columbia University, and was formerly chair of the Department. She serves as the Director of Columbia’s Social Relations Laboratory.http://socialrelations.psych.columbia.edu/research
Trained as a developmental psychologist, Dr. Downey has conducted extensive research on rejection sensitivity in the context of interpersonal relationships. Listen to part I of Dr. Downey’s presentation and view the accompanying slide below. Her work reveals very important findings for people with BPD that is the cause of enormous pain and suffering. Listen to Dr. Downey in Part I here: downeyI
Dr Alec Miller Co-Founder, Cognitive & Behavioral Consultants of Westchester, LLP White Plains, NY Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Chief, Child and Adolescent Psychology Director, Adolescent Depression and Suicide Program Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, NY
Ironically, it is clear that improving attitudes and behaviors of Clinicians surrounding BPD could potentially have the greatest and most positive impact on stigma. A lack of understanding of the disorder or knowing how to treat people with BPD, has resulted in the use of derogatory terms and negative attitudes that have exacerbated stigma.
It is up to Clinicians themselves to undo the damage that has been done. These are compelling thoughts that can be potentially freeing and empowering for BPD patients and informative to Clinicians and Families.