Borderline personality disorder (or BPD) is a serious mental condition that can cause severe issues in a person’s day-to-day life. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from BPD also have issues with substance abuse and addiction.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Our resident Mental Health Nurse at Addictions.com described it as “Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning.” People who suffer from it often have unstable relationships and engage in impulsive actions. This disorder causes individuals to experience unstable emotions and often intense fears of abandonment.
How Does Borderline Personality Disorder Relate to Addiction?
People with BPD are often more likely to suffer from comorbid disorders, one of which is an addiction. While some individuals may try to cope with fears or rapidly changing emotions by using drugs, others may do so to try and cope with the reason they are experiencing BPD. For example, many individuals who have experienced abuse or abandonment are likely to suffer from both addiction and BPD. Unfortunately, both disorders have a number of the same risk factors and can worsen one another.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction?
People suffering from BPD often view things in extremes and can change their feelings about things very quickly. Many times, a person, behavior, or concept will either be highly revered or loathed intensely with no in between. Other symptoms of the disorder include:
- An intense fear of being abandoned
- An inability to tolerate being alone
- Feelings of emptiness or boredom
- Displays of inappropriate anger
- Intense mood swings
- Paranoid thoughts related to stress
- Severe dissociative symptoms where the individual feels cut off even from themselves or like they are losing touch with reality
- Repeated acts of self-injury
- Wrist cutting
Many of these symptoms can lead to substance abuse, such as the tendency toward impulsiveness, and using drugs while suffering from BPD can lead to frequent overdoses. In most cases, both disorders can occur as a dangerous attempt to cope with real fears or issues that occurred in the past, and it is important for these issues to be addressed and treated as soon as possible.
How Are These Comorbid Disorders Treated?
BPD and addiction must be treated at the same time in order for an individual to heal properly and create a strong recovery. Individuals with BPD (with or without a co-occurring [substance use disorder) may have a team of professionals who provide different aspects of care,” but it is important that treatment focuses on both issues simultaneously so that the untreated condition is not able to derail the progress of the treated one.
Individual talk therapy and group therapy are both highly respected treatment options for BPD and can be beneficial for the treatment of addiction as well. Patients can learn to recognize and avoid triggers as well as to understand why they feel the way they feel and how past events could have influenced their current situation. In addition, patients can learn better coping mechanisms that will allow them to avoid dangerous behaviors, including substance abuse, brought on by the fear and pain experienced as a result of BPD.
While medications are not strongly used as treatment methods for BPD, some pharmacological options may be necessary. In addition, certain medications can help to minimize cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with different drugs, and depend on your specific situation, one or more may be helpful.
Seek Help Today
Borderline personality disorder causes a number of problems in the lives of affected individuals and those they love. When addiction is also involved, it can create a severe situation in which professional treatment is absolutely necessary. Call 800-654-0987 now to find a rehab program that can treat both disorders and help you recover as safely and effectively as possible.