How Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Facilitate Treatment Retention Among Individuals with Comorbid Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorders?

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For individuals presenting with comorbid borderline personality disorder (BPD) and substance use disorders (SUD), rates of treatment dropout from combined mental health and substance abuse treatment centers approach 80%, rendering dropout the rule rather than the exception. Several studies indicate that utilizing a more comprehensive treatment such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) may be useful for client retention; however, given the scope and effort required to conduct this treatment, it may be more practical to determine which specific components within DBT are useful in retaining clients in substance use treatment. Thus, the purpose of the current paper is first to determine what exact deficits underlie treatment dropout among the BPD-SUD comorbidity. Second, we review and evaluate effectiveness of DBT retention-enhancing strategies by assembling work from other samples and literatures that also tests retention-enhancing strategies discussed in DBT. As a last step, the paper will conclude with a discussion on methodological limitations and potential future directions in this line of research.

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Clinical Psychology Review, v. 27, issue 8, p. 923-943