Evaluation of changes in prescription medication use after a residential treatment programme for borderline personality disorder

Jillian H. Broadbear, Julian Nesci, Rosemary Thomas, Katherine Thompson, Josephine Beatson, Sathya Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Residential patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder were evaluated to determine whether borderline personality disorder-focused psychotherapy reduced prescribing, personality disorder and co-morbid symptom severity. Method: Psychotropic prescriptions were measured at admission, discharge and 1 year later in 74 female participants with one or more personality disorder diagnosis and co-morbid mood disorders. Changes in pharmacotherapy were examined in the context of improvements in borderline personality disorder and/or co-morbid disorder symptom severity. Residential treatment included individual and group psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV was used to confirm the borderline personality disorder diagnosis and associated co-morbid conditions. The Beck Depression Inventory was completed at each time point. Results: A significant reduction in the incidence and severity of self-rated depression as well as clinician assessed personality disorder, including borderline personality disorder, was accompanied by a reduction in prescription of psychoactive medications. Conclusions: Three to six months of intensive borderline personality disorder-specific psychotherapy showed lasting benefit with regard to symptom severity of personality disorders (borderline personality disorder in particular) as well as depressive symptoms. This improvement corresponded with a reduction in prescriptions for psychoactive medications, which is consistent with current thinking regarding treatment for borderline personality disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-588
Number of pages6
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Depression
  • Polypharmacy
  • Prescription medication
  • Psychotherapy

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