BPD Research


Treatment of Drug Abusers with Borderline Personality Disorders:

Changes in Brain Activation with DBT or I/GDC


This study aims to provide preliminary indications of neurobiological processes that accompany successful treatment of opioid dependence in individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) through the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).  Greater understanding of these processes (e.g., changes in neural reactivity to emotional and drug related-stimuli over the course of treatment) will provided insight into critical neural mechanisms of treatment, which may help form new treatments.

Previous Neuroimaging studies largely provide support for the presence of an underlying biologically-based emotional dysfunction in BPD, including enhanced frontolimbic activation to emotionally-averse cues.  Previous imaging studies in both BPD and opiate dependence also point to specific structures of the brain (primarily the ventral prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulated, and amygdale) becoming activated in response to affect and or craving-eliciting cues, with several additional structures, such as the basal ganglia / basal forebrain regions, implicated in response to drug cues.


  • Kim D, Sujung Yoon S, Dager SR, Yurgelun-Todd DA, Hwang J, Kim JE, Bae S, Cho HB, Renshaw PF, Lyoo IK. Posterior Cerebellar Vermal Deficits in Bipolar Disorder. J Affective Disorders (in press)
  • Smoski MJ, Salsman N, Wang L, Smith V, Lynch T, Dager SR, LaBar K, Linehan MM. Functional Imaging of Emotion Reactivity in Opiate-Dependent Borderline Personality Disorder Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment. 2011 Jul;2(3):230-41. doi: 10.1037/a0022228. PMID: 22448769 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article