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Symptom- and personality disorder changes in intensive short-term dynamic residential treatment for treatment-resistant anxiety and depressive disorders

  • Ole André Solbakken (a1) (a2) and Allan Abbass (a3)

The study investigated the effectiveness of an 8-week intensive residential treatment programme based on principles from intensive short-term dynamic psychotherapy for patients with known treatment-resistant anxiety- and/or depressive disorders (mainly with comorbid personality disorders).


Patients (N=95) with prior repeated treatment failure were included. Changes in self-reported target complaints, symptom severity, and overall interpersonal problems have been presented for these patients in two previous articles. We now expand upon the existing knowledge by presenting novel data from a number of important observer-based and self-reported outcome domains (diagnostic changes on Axis I and II, changes in overall personality dysfunction, disorder complexity, medication use, health care utilisation, and occupational activity).


There were pervasive and significant improvements on all measures during treatment, which were maintained or further improved during follow-up. Fourteen months after the end of treatment, 46.26% of patients had recovered in terms of Axis I pathology, 63.79% had recovered in terms of Axis II pathology, 71.18% had returned to work, and there was a 28.62% reduction in regular use of psychotropic medications. Health care utilisation was reduced by 65.55%, and there were large improvements in disorder complexity and levels of personality dysfunction.


The treatment programme was highly effective for patients with common and complex treatment-resistant mental disorders. Results are encouraging for the relatively large number of patients who tend not to benefit from standard formats of treatment for debilitating psychological problems.

Corresponding author
Ole André Solbakken, The Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Postboks 1094 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway. Tel: +47 22 84 51 80; Fax: +47 22 84 50 01; E-mail:
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Acta Neuropsychiatrica
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