Addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and addiction often run parallel with individuals with co-occuring disorders. Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders is often recommended.
Borderline Personality Disorder, What is it?
(BPD) Borderline personality disorder falls under a mental illness caused by self-image distortion, impulsivity issues and extreme or unstable relationships.
People with BPD often have other psychological disorders including, but not limited to anxiety, eating disorders and depression.
Those who suffer from borderline personality disorder have other issues such as substance abuse and irrational or suicidal behavior.
Research suggests that several factors can contribute to the development of BPD Including:
- Genes – Borderline personality disorder often runs in families, lead scientists within the psychological community believe genes play a huge role with BPD disorder. Certain Inherent traits and temperaments, like aggression, may play a role in the risk of increase of BPD when in combination with the persons environment.
- Neurotransmitters – Neurotransmitters alter their brain functions -mainly serotonin, dopamine or noradrenaline-could cause a person to develop BPD. The neurotransmitters govern the regulation of emotions and urges.
- Neurobiology – Research suggests that certain areas within the brain are more active in those that have borderline personality disorder. The most common areas that are more productive in those with BPD are the orbital frontal cortex, the hippocampus and the amygdala.
- Environmental Factors – Several factors of one’s environment can play a common role in a person with borderline personality disorder. Many who suffered trauma during childhood or unstable family environments can play a big role as well as those with drug addiction or alcoholism problems and metal disorders.
Addiction or Alcoholism and Borderline Personality Disorder
BPD and Addiction are often co-occurring with one another. Approximately two-thirds of individuals who struggle with BPD have a history of substance abuse.
Many suffering with borderline personality disorder use drugs to cope with their symptoms or to increase their self-esteem, and this makes drug addiction and alcoholism a very common trait for those with BPD. Many use drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medicating to calm the feelings that those with BPD are accustomed to.
Addiction and BPD’s Symptoms and Signs are almost the same.
Both issues have symptoms of extreme mood swings and agitation, self-destructive behavior, deceitfulness, and instability in relationships or careers. These commonly similar traits make it hard to diagnose both conditions individually. Most often, a person will be diagnosed with a single condition and the other will be discovered later.
It can be a challenge to treat BPD with a co-occurring addiction. Many who are diagnosed with BPD are already prone to be unstable emotionally, adding drugs or alcohol to the issue can lead to erratic choices and behavior. One of the biggest struggles with a patient who suffers from a co-occurring disorder is getting the patient to complete co-occurring disorder treatment because their mood changes like the weather.
Dr. David Sack on Psych Central in 2012 states:
“Addicts with BPD have been described as both treatment demanding and treatment resistant. Research shows more positive outcomes the longer an addict with BPD stays in treatment, yet keeping them in treatment is no easy task. In a study of patients in a detox program, those with BPD were significantly more likely to have an unplanned discharge than those without BPD.”
While the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders can raise difficulty, there are many numbers of programs that have started to offer treatment for Addiction and borderline personality disorder.
The Symptoms and Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder
The symptoms of borderline personality disorder are frequently confused with the symptoms of addiction or alcoholism, which makes it hard to recognize. Many in the medical community as a whole have made strides of progress in understanding and diagnosing BPD and substance abuse disorders.
Common borderline personality disorder symptoms include:
Many who struggle with BPD could also lapse into a psychotic episode due to stress induction.
Effects associated with BPD could leave the sufferer with a low feeling of self-esteem or self-worth. Many isolate due to the fact their peers or family may be pushed away from their impulsive behavior and the angry outbursts. In many cases and various forms of co-occurring disorders isolation can lead to depression or anxiety. Many with BPD fear abandonment and being alone. Many who suffer from BPD often have an unsure feeling about themselves and constantly will change like a chameleon based on their environment to build relationships.
Drug or Alcohol Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment
Addictions and co-occurring disorders like BPD can often be treated at the same time in rehabs that offer treatment for co-occurring disorders. Many of the rehabs offer psychotherapy and addiction treatment services.
There are various models of therapy offered at rehabs for co-occurring disorders, including cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help patients identify thought patterns which lead to impulsive decisions and behavior. Cognitive behavioral therapy also helps patients to manage their emotions which aids them in the avoidance of drug and alcohol usage to overcome the emotions.
Co-occurring disorders such as addiction and mental disorders can be treated with the help of a medical detox physician that oversees the patient’s withdrawal from drugs and alcohol.
BPD and addiction can be treated on an inpatient basis and in other cases an outpatient basis, depending on the disorders severity.
If you or your loved one is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, please don’t hesitate to ask for help before it becomes worse.