Duration of treatment

For most mental state disorders it is relatively easy to choose the period over which efficacy has to be demonstrated. For conditions that develop suddenly (e.g. panic), treatment trials could be for a very short time indeed. For others, particularly when maintenance treatment is being evaluated, at least 6 months may be necessary to establish continued efficacy. In the case of personality disorders, which by definition have a prolonged course, at least 2 years is desirable before one can judge the efficacy of a treatment. To our knowledge no studies have used this length of follow-up in their judgement of efficacy. Such a requirement is not a purist position; if a treatment for personality disorder appears to be effective over a shorter period, this may be due to change in a concurrent (comorbid) condition. In addition, for a treatment is to be judged efficacious in personality disorder its effects should be lasting.

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