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DBT was initially developed for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Borderline Personality Disorder is a pattern of extreme behaviors, intense emotions and extreme thoughts that can lead to difficulties in interpersonal relationships (e.g. fear of abandonment, conflicts) and in self (e.g. identity difficulties, feelings of emptiness).

DBT has been found to be effective among individuals from diverse backgrounds in terms of age ranging from children to older adults), gender, sexual orientation, and race/ethnicity (e.g. McCauley, Berk, Asarnow et al., 2018).


DBT is applied to individuals with difficulty in emotion regulation and relationships with others as well as to people  who  present with a range of impulsive behaviors (e.g., suicidal behaviors, para-suicidal behaviors, anger outbursts, eating disorders, difficulties with drug or alcohol abuse).

Additional conditions for which versions of DBT have been found to be effective are listed below:

Posttraumatic stress disorder

High irritability/ Interpersonal difficulties

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Posttraumatic stress disorder related to childhood sexual abuse

Major depression

Treatment resistant major depression

Older adults with chronic depression

Bipolar disorder

Transdiagnostic emotion dysregulation

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