A pioneering study from Lleida confirms the benefits of the use of adventure therapy for the treatment of borderline personality disorder
The research has been carried out thanks to a grant from the Diputació de Lleida, the Association of Quantity Surveyors, Technical Architects and Building Engineers of Lleida and the initiative Ultra Trail Tierras de Lleida and a solidarity ride
A study from Lleida has confirmed the benefits of the use of adventure therapy for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. According to the study, carried out with patients at the Adult Psychiatric Day Hospital of the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida, people who have undergone adventure therapy develop healthier lifestyle habits. It also increases the functionality and quality of life of these people. The research was recently published in the journal Personality and Mental Health.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most common personality disorders. Personality disorders are a group of mental disorders with significant deviations from the way people perceive, think, feel and relate to others. BPD is characterised by instability in personal relationships, extreme emotions, distorted self-image and lack of impulse control. It usually appears during adolescence or early adulthood. This disorder causes social, occupational and functional adjustment problems, and is associated with a high percentage of suicidal and self-destructive behaviour.
The research has been carried out by studying two groups of patients. One of 10 patients who have undergone therapy through adventure, which includes activities such as problem solving, climbing, hiking or slackline as therapeutic tools based on experiential therapy. And a second group, also composed of 10 people, who have followed conventional therapy. After the therapy, the team observed an improvement in their functionality and quality of life, as well as a trend towards healthier lifestyle habits and improvements in cholesterol and glucose levels in those in the adventure therapy group.
This research has been possible thanks to a grant from the Diputació de Lleida, a donation from the Association of Quantity Surveyors, Technical Architects and Building Engineers of Lleida and two solidarity initiatives to raise funds for the study of Borderline Personality Disorder, the Ultra Trail Tierras de Lleida and a solidarity bike ride organised by the Lleida Tennis Club.
"More studies are needed in this field to confirm the results obtained and check whether they are maintained over time," explained Dr. Iolanda Batalla, a researcher in the Biological Foundations of Mental Disorders research group at IRBLleida. For this reason, they continue with the research by evaluating patients at 6, 12 and 18 months to verify these benefits.
The study was carried out by researchers from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine of Lleida (IRBLleida), the Psychiatry Service of the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida, the Department of Basic Medical Sciences and the Department of Medicine of the University of Lleida (UdL) and the Association Experientia: Therapy through adventure.
Mendo-Cullell M, Arenas-Pijoan L, Forné C, Fernández-Oñate D, Ruiz de Cortázar-Gracia N, Facal C, Torrent A, Palacios R, Pifarré J, Batalla I. A pilot study of the efficacy of an adventure therapy programme on borderline personality disorder: A pragmatic controlled clinical trial. Personal Ment Health. 2021 Feb. doi:10.1002/pmh.1505. PMID: 33569869.
The researcher, Iolanda Batalla