Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Abuse

Posted in Mental Health

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can trigger a range of self-destructive behaviors, including drug abuse. It is a condition recognized by the American Psychiatric Association that usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood. No one specific cause has been isolated for this issue, but medical professionals think there are both genetic and environmental factors that trigger this condition in Atlanta residents.

Signs of BPD

The signs and symptoms of BPD include the following issues:

  • Fear of abandonment; people with BPD typically have a history of childhood neglect or separation from a caregiver at an early age
  • Extreme and rapid mood swings
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Feelings of being detached
  • Paranoia
  • Self-harming behavior such as cutting, burning or suicide
  • Tumultuous interpersonal relationships characterized by a high degree of conflict
  • Impulsive behavior such as binge eating or drinking and excessive spending
  • Engaging in promiscuous sex
  • Substance abuse

Not all of these symptoms need be present for someone to have BPD.

How BPD and Drug Abuse Affect Each Other

Drug abuse is often a response to emotional pain. Someone with BPD has significantly higher rates of substance abuse and addiction than those without any mental health issue.

People with BPD may use drugs to relieve emotional. Drugs can provide temporary relief, but the long-term effects of drug abuse often aggravate the condition that led to drug abuse in the first place. Using drugs can make someone with BPD feel even more isolated and detached. Furthermore drugs can amplify mood swings in someone with BPD while it increases or triggers paranoia. These effects can make it even more difficult for someone with BPD to form and maintain healthy relationships, go to school or hold down a job. Drugs often cause or trigger depression, especially in withdrawal, and can greatly increase the chance that someone will act on suicidal impulses.

Stress can trigger or exacerbate symptoms of BPD. When stress emerges someone with BPD may seek to avoid or relieve stress with drugs. However, drug use can increase stress in the long run, as drugs aggravates BPD while damaging a user’s life in ways that increase stress. The result can be a self-reinforcing cycle that aggravates BPD and increases the desire to escape into drug use.

Treatment for BPD and Drug Abuse/Addiction

The good news for patients with BPD is that treatment is available for a complete recovery. Many people who undergo treatment no longer meet the criteria for a diagnosis of BPD, and integrated treatment can address both BPD and drug addiction. If you would like help finding treatment for BPD and/or addiction, or if you have any questions about BPD, addiction, treatment and recovery, please call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have and to help you find the treatment you need.