Declaration of interest
Democratic therapeutic community (DTC) treatment has been used for many years in an effort to help people with personality disorder. High-quality evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) is absent.
To test whether DTC treatment reduces use of in-patient services and improves the mental health of people with personality disorder.
An RCT of 70 people meeting DSM-IV criteria for personality disorder (trial registration: ISRCTN57363317). The intervention was DTC and the control condition was crisis planning plus treatment as usual (TAU). The primary outcome was days of in-patient psychiatric treatment. Secondary outcomes were social function, mental health status, self-harm and aggression, attendance at emergency departments and primary care, and satisfaction with care. All outcomes were measured at 12 and 24 months after randomisation.
Number of in-patient days at follow-up was low among all participants and there was no difference between groups. At 24 months, self- and other directed aggression and satisfaction with care were significantly improved in the DTC compared with the TAU group.
DTC is more effective than TAU in improving outcomes in personality disorder. Further studies are required to confirm this conclusion.
- © The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2017.
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