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Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

What is it When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction?

There is strong evidence to support the conclusion that behavioral health issues and addiction co=occur - known as a dual diagnosis.


In fact, one in four individuals with a serious mental illness has a substance abuse issue.Borderline Personality Disorder is no different.


The National Institute of Mental Health describes Borderline Personality Disorder as “an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior.”


Unlike some mental illnesses with specific symptoms, Borderline Personality Disorder expressions can vary broadly from one individual to the next, which can lead to misdiagnosis.


It’s estimated that roughly 1.4% of the population has Borderline Personality Disorder and that approximately 75% of these individuals are women. Extreme mood swings and occurrences of anger, depression, or other mental health issues, can be common for these individuals, lasting for hours, or even days.


Characteristics of this illness include:

  • Rapidly changing interests and values
  • Extreme changes in opinion
  • Sudden friend/enemy dynamics within relationships
  • Fear and avoidance of abandonment, real or imagined
  • The severing of interpersonal ties for fear of rejection
  • A patter of intense, unstable relationships
  • High-risk behavior
  • Self-harming behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Problems controlling anger
  • Difficulty trusting / suspicion of others


Unfortunately, because of the psychological anguish they endure, as well as the social isolation they experience due to their symptoms, it is common for those struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder to self-medicate by abusing drugs and alcohol.


Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction BriteLife Recovery - A man who is struggling with mental health issues, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, turns to abusing drugs and alcohol because he has isolated himself since he is unaware of healthy coping strategies for his mental health disorder


Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

Several considerations can contribute to Borderline Personality Disorder, and there is no single underlying “cause” for the illness.


Borderline Personality disorder does appear to run in families; those who have experienced traumatic events, childhood neglect, or, in those that were separated from parents. These individuals are more likely to experience this illness in their lifetime.


There also appears to be a strong neurological basis for Borderline Personality Disorder, with documented differences in the brain's parts that control emotional responses and judgment.


There is little that those who experience Borderline Personality Disorder can do to manage their feelings and perceptions differently, other than seeking professional help.


However, since their behavior can be erratic, and they are prone to unstable relationships, they are often hurtfully dismissed by others as “difficult” or “hostile.”


For example, research indicates that while those with Borderline Personality Disorder are a small percentage of the overall population, they represent 10% of outpatient clinic visits and 20% inpatient clinical visits.


Due to their frequent visits, mood swings, and nonspecific complaints, these individuals are often perceived in the medical community as “frequent flyers,” or attention seekers, without recognition of the underlying issue.


This can lead to poor medical outcomes and distrust of medical professionals, and a reduced likelihood of seeking assistance for mental health and substance use issues.


Additionally, isolation is common in the lives of those experiencing Borderline Personality Disorder.


Researchers have also discovered a link between isolation and high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, weakened immune systems, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even chemical addiction.


Mental Illness and Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

Although Borderline Personality Disorder can appear in many ways, and to varying degrees, it is a mental illness that requires support and assistance.


Left untreated, it can be a catalyst for other serious issues, such as self-harm and substance abuse.


When mental health issues are combined with mind-altering substances, such as alcohol, abused prescription pills, or street drugs, a cycle of addiction can form that can become almost inescapable.


While the emotional extremes of Borderline Personality Disorder can compel substance use as a coping mechanism for anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment or suicidal ideation, alcohol, and drugs, these will only serve to worsen relationship issues and biochemical imbalances.


As addiction's negative mental health consequences begin to take hold, experiences of insomnia, isolation, anxiety, mood changes, depression, hopelessness, PTSD, ADHD, and other psychological issues can become more acute.


Unfortunately, some of these mental health consequences can last for months or years after recovery.


However, with professional treatment and medical detoxification, those experiencing Borderline Personality Disorder and addiction can find happiness, health, and serenity once again.


Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

The first step in recovery treatment for those experiencing Borderline Personality Disorder and addiction will likely be medical detoxification.


Nearly all addictive substances require a supervised detoxification process. The presence of medical staff will help prevent self-harm and severe side effects, such as seizures, heart attacks, and strokes.


This detoxification may take several days, depending on the type of drug used.


Therapeutic drugs may also be prescribed to help manage depressive thoughts and the painful side effects of withdrawal.


And while detoxification can take place in a hospital setting, those experiencing co-occurring Borderline Personality Disorder and addiction should consider seeking professional, residential treatment for their dual diagnosis.


This is because individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and addiction have specific needs, and recovery centers can offer integrated treatment plans to improve their likelihood of success.


Integrated treatment is simultaneously treating mental health issues and substance addiction, by recognizing their interdependence.


For example, this evidence-based strategy would view high-risk behavior, such as alcohol abuse, in the context of self-directed anger, shame, identity confusion, isolation, PTSD, or anxiety.


And, while the addiction's biochemical effects are very real, if underlying issues are not addressed, the likelihood of relapse becomes high.


However, it must empower the individual seeking recovery with coping mechanisms and an ability to understand their journey for their own journey.


Recognizing how mental illness played a role in their addiction, seeing how they can improve their mental health outlook, and learning how to prepare to manage future triggers are key components to a successful treatment plan.


And when addiction treatment is combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other resilience-building efforts, recovery is much more likely to be sustained.


Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction BriteLife Recovery - Two females with a dual diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and substance abuse are comforting each other during a group therapy session to show support for one another during their treatment processes toward recovery and finding healthy coping mechanisms.


Payment Information

BriteLife Recovery cares about you and your recovery.


We know that treatment should be your top priority, not worrying about your insurance.


Our team of professionals will communicate with your insurance provider on your behalf and help find a payment plan that works for you.


We accept most PPO insurance and private forms of payment, and you can even pay for your admission online. Ready to begin your healing journey?


Just call our dedicated team at 844-326-5548 and experience the BriteLife Recovery difference.


How to Get Help

Are you struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder and substance addiction? Has addiction harmed your relationships, job, and peace of mind? Help is closer than you think.


The BriteLife Recovery team is second-to-none.


Here you will be surrounded by staff and caregivers who understand your struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder.


We can support your recovery with services, including medical detoxification, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, 12-Step programs, peer counseling, one-to-one therapy, spiritual services, and much more.


At BriteLife Recovery, we believe in you. And we are excited to show you the possibilities that recovery can offer.


Contact us today, and start your new beginning.

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