Longitudinal studies support that symptomatic remission from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is common, but recovery from the disorder probably involves a broader set of changes in psychosocial function over and above symptom relief. A systematic review of literature on both symptomatic and personal recovery from BPD was conducted including the views of consumers, clinicians, family and carers.
Materials and Methods
A PRISMA guided systematic search identified research examining the process of recovery from BPD. Longitudinal studies with a follow-up period of five or more years were included to avoid treatment effects.
There were 19 studies, representing 11 unique cohorts (1,122 consumers) meeting the review criteria. There was a limited focus on personal recovery and the views of family and carers were absent from the literature. Rates of remission and recovery differ depending upon individual and methodological differences between studies. Data on symptomatic remission, recurrence and diagnosis retainment suggests that BPD is a stable condition, where symptomatic remission is possible and the likelihood of recurrence following a period of remission is low.
Symptomatic remission from BPD is common. However, recovery including capacities such as engaging in meaningful work was seldom described. Future research needs broader measures of recovery as a sub-syndromal experience, monitoring consumer engagement in meaningful vocation and relationships, with or without the limitations of BPD.