Borderline personality disorder (BPD) has been widely viewed as a chronic disorder, which has led many clinicians to avoid treating patients with this diagnosis. BPD is also one of the most stigmatized of psychiatric disorders, due to the awkward manner in which these individuals attempt to get their needs met. As such those with BPD are increasingly marginalized by society and prevented from accessing quality care.
In the Fullness of Time debunks the common myth that BPD is incurable, drawing on the findings of the NIMH-funded study, the McLean Study of Adult Development, which has found that BPD has the best symptomatic outcome of all major psychiatric illnesses. Citing and analyzing the results of this landmark, decades-long study, Mary Zanarini explains why there is reason for optimism when it comes to BPD: remissions lasting two to eight years are common and stable; furthermore, remission of
all 24 symptoms of the disorder are also quite typical. Equally promisingly, the acute and most life-threatening symptoms of BPD, such as self-harm and suicide attempts, remit rapidly, and recur less frequently than do temperamental symptoms. Zanarini also reports on more sobering findings concerning high
levels of poor outcomes relating to vocational impairment and physical health, reported by the 40% of patients who have not recovered, which have significant impact on wellbeing and use of medical and other services. Considered together, the findings generated by this important research provide much-needed hope for those diagnosed with BPD, particularly in guiding future research on and treatment for borderline personality disorder.