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New Study: Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Borderline Personality Disorders in Adolescents

By September 4, 2014No Comments

In recent news, a study from the Dr. Paul Ammiger and his esteemed colleagues recently Throughpublished the results of their study, which investigated whether or not Omega-3 fatty acids would “improve functioning and psychiatric symptoms in young people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) who also meet ultra-high risk criteria for psychosis.” The study showed a decrease in the severity of symptoms in young adults who were at high risk for developing psychosis. The study studied 81 young people between the ages of 14-18 who were at “high risk for psychosis.” From this group, they found 15 who had borderline personality disorder.


For a period of 12 weeks, half of the group took 700 mg of EPA and 480 mg of DHA a day, while the other half took a placebo. Of those taking the placebo, 29% showed signs of psychosis. However, those taking the Omega-3 fatty acids showed significant improvement.


This is really encouraging. Borderline personality disorders are tricky and can be hard to address. The major symptoms revolve around interpersonal interactions, negative sense of self, significant mood swings, and impulsivity. The work involved in treating all mental illness requires a nexus of therapeutic support and a desire for positive change from the patient themselves. We’ve learned that applying Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), for example, has shown positive results in the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorders–recent studies have confirmed this, showing lower suicide rates, less self-harming incidents, and less self-removal from treatment.


Psychiatry is still a relatively young science, and growth and change are happening quickly as practitioners eagerly seek resolution to some of the most challenging psychological issues. Dr. Ammiger’s discovery regarding the use of Omega-3 fatty acids is profound. The study, though small in scope, produced impressive results: the data “suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, at the right doses for a long-enough period of time, can significantly improve the quality of life for people with borderline personality disorder.”


More research around the use of Omega-3 fatty acids will need to be done to ultimately determine the long term efficacy of Omega-3 fatty acids, but Ammiger’s study has shone a light into what is a dark corner for many.


References used for this blog:

Omega-3s in adolescents with borderline personality disorder

Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in adolescents with borderline personality disorder and ultra-high risk criteria for psychosis: a post hoc subgroup analysis of a double-blind, randomized controlled trial.