Personality disorders

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Sydney Sims

What are we researching?

Our research focuses on improving the quality of life of people with personality disorders. We do this based on the following questions:

  1. What is the influence of trauma treatment on people with personality disorders?
  2. What is the effect of short-term psychotherapy on personality disorders?
  3. What is the impact of psychotic symptoms in people with borderline personality disorder, and how can these be treated?

Why are we doing this research?

Personality disorders are common, and the suffering of people with personality disorders is high. Treatment consists of psychotherapy that is often long and intensive, with high costs and long waiting lists.

People with psychotic symptoms in borderline personality disorder have a higher risk of suicidal behaviour and an unfavourable course. With our research, we increase the knowledge about (the treatment of) personality disorders and the effect of cognitive behavioural therapy and transcranial direct current stimulation.

How are we doing this research?

Little is known yet about the effect of trauma treatment and the short-term experiential schema therapy group on the severity of personality disorders.

In 2021, our research group has started an RCT (Randomized Controlled Trial) into the effect of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). In 2022 a naturalistic study will begin into the effect of the second intervention.

How does our research make an impact?

People with personality disorders suffer from stigma. Prejudice plays a negative role among both the public and social workers. Personality disorders are often not recognised. A major misconception is that people with personality disorders display (difficult) behaviour rather than symptoms of a severe illness. It is also thought that personality disorders cannot be treated because 'that is just the way you are'. However, treatment is quite possible: approximately half of the people who receive treatment no longer meet the criteria for a personality disorder.

People with a personality disorder are almost all traumatised, often in childhood. As a result, they experience strong emotions that they find challenging to regulate. With our studies, we contribute to a better understanding of the severity of these disorders. The goal of our intervention studies is to make the treatment of personality disorders shorter and more effective. The effect is fewer waiting lists and lower costs. And the most significant effect is that people experience fewer symptoms more quickly, and their quality of life improves.

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