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A recent study carried out by Proctor et al., 2020, has produced further evidence that BPD sufferers frequently find it highly problematic gaining access to effective treatment such as dialectical behaviour therapy, or DBT. (In relation to this problem, you may wish to read my previously published articles: How  Malignant Alienation May Impoverish Care BPD Patients Receive.)

Whilst many professional used to believe BPD was typically unresponsive to treatment, this can no longer operate as a feasible excuse as there now exists an increasingly large and growing body of evidence that a substantial proportion of those who have been diagnosed with this extremely serious condition (which is closely linked to severe and protracted, interpersonal, childhood trauma) can be treated effectively, at least to the degree that they no longer fulfil the requisite criteria necessary for the diagnosis of BPD to continue to be applicable (in relation to recovery from BPD, you may wish to read my previously published article: Nine Key Recovery Targets For BPD Sufferers).

The authors of the study suggest that difficulty obtaining proper treatment is linked to the continued stigma attaching itself to a BPD diagnosis. However, as sufferers of the condition become increasingly knowledgeable about the illness and of the existence of evidence base therapies like DBT (see above), so too should their confidence assertively to request the opportunity to access such treatment. After all, about one in ten BPD sufferers eventually die by suicide, so the need for such individuals to be offered compassionate, non-judgmental, empathetic and non-discriminatory treatment can hardly be overstated. The treatment of extreme mental pain is just as much of an ethical imperative as is the treatment of extreme physical pain. (In relation to the extreme mental suffering BPD sufferers endure, you may wish to read my previously published article: A Study Into The Terrible Mental Pain Experienced By BPD Sufferers and/or Why Isn’t Mental Pain Taken As Seriously As Physical Pain By Medical Professionals?)

The Australian study surveyed 500 patients between 2011 and 2017 and found that those offered appropriate help often waited between a year and a year-and-a-half to receive it. The author of the study pointed out that this not only resulted in unnecessary suffering for the BPD sufferer but also placed extra strain on hospital emergency services (i.e. due to more BPD sufferers reaching crisis point, attempting suicide, self-medicating with dangerous levels of alcohol and/or narcotics, extreme self-harm such as self-cutting and self-burning etc.).

The researchers concluded by emphasizing the importance of health professionals applying  NHMRC BPD guidelines in order to support front line services responsible for the welfare of BPD sufferers.

 

REFERENCE

Proctor, J.M., et al. Consumer perspective from people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) on BPD management. How are the Australian NHMRC BPD guidelines faring in practice?. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. Pub. 2020

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