What is the Relationship Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Use?

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Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that can affect an individual’s well-being in many areas. Research has found that 78 percent of those with borderline personality disorder develop a substance use disorder at some time in their lives, raising questions about the link between the mental health condition and addiction. Keep reading to explore the relationship between borderline personality disorder and drug use, and find out how to seek professional help if needed.

If you or a loved one are in need of addiction treatment, turn to The Differents for comprehensive substance abuse treatment in Reno. Our expert team can help you recover in comfort at our luxury drug rehab in Nevada, where you can learn the tools you need for long-term recovery.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition defined by issues with impulsivity, self-image, and unstable interpersonal relationships. 

A diagnosis requires that symptoms begin in early adulthood across several contexts (like school, home, and work) with at least five of the following nine symptoms: 

  1. Frantically trying to avoid abandonment, both real and imagined
  2. A pattern of intense interpersonal relationships with strong alterations between devaluation and idealization
  3. Persistently unstable sense of self-worth or self-image
  4. Impulsivity that can be potentially damaging in at least two of the following areas:
    1. Binge eating
    2. Reckless driving
    3. Drug use
    4. Sex
    5. Spending
  5. Recurrent suicidal threats or actions
  6. Intense episodic moods, which are limited to a few hours
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness or worthlessness
  8. Inappropriate displays of anger or issues with anger management 
  9. Stress-related paranoid ideation

One of the key features of borderline personality disorder is going out of your way to avoid rejection or abandonment, often imagined. People with this condition can experience high sensitivity to environmental changes and impending perceptions of rejection, which can have a negative impact on self-image, behavior, and relationships.

Drug use is when an individual abuses prescription or illegal drugs and can develop into an addiction that results in cravings, withdrawal, and an inability to decrease or stop substance abuse behaviors, no matter how hard they try.

The Relationship Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Use

The relationship between borderline personality disorder and drug use is multifaceted:

  • Firstly, there is a strong correlation between people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and secondary mental health disorders, including substance use disorders
  • Secondly, people who struggle with borderline personality disorder are at a high risk of using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate if they don’t get proper treatment
  • Thirdly, many of the symptoms of drug abuse look the same as borderline personality disorder, which can make it difficult to tell whether an individual is struggling with one or both

For example, many people with borderline personality disorder have an intense fear of abandonment, and they usually struggle with inappropriate displays of anger, but most of that perceived abandonment stems from poor self-esteem and a belief that they are bad people. That same person might be overwhelmed at how quickly they change their emotions, feel like something’s wrong with them, and believe that the bad things that happen are because they’re a bad person. 

These same feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, and emotional outbursts are also heavily associated with drug use.

Relationship Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse: Causes

People who have a first-degree relative struggling with borderline personality disorder are five times more likely to develop it themselves. Moreover, those who struggle with BPD are also at a higher risk of also having:

  • Bipolar disorders
  • Depression disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Substance use disorders

Many symptoms that develop in association with long-term substance abuse can mirror the symptoms and signs of borderline personality disorder. This can make it difficult to obtain a proper diagnosis or subsequent treatment.

More importantly, many clients who struggle with borderline personality disorder struggle heavily with impulsivity, identity issues, and problems with interpersonal functioning, all of which can exacerbate or increase the risk of developing a substance abuse disorder.

Getting Treatment with The Differents

If you are noticing a relationship between borderline personality disorder and drug use, you can find support with The Differents. 

The most important part of your treatment will consist of individual and group psychotherapy, where you learn how to better express yourself and interact with others. You might also benefit from family therapy because both borderline personality disorder and drug use affect individuals and their families.

Clients at our Nevada addiction treatment center benefit from our extensive programs and highly trained staff, including therapies and amenities like:

  • Acupuncture
  • MeRT/TMS
  • Energy Work
  • Meditation
  • Sound Bath
  • Recreational Therapy
  • IV Infusions
  • EMDR
  • CBD
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Massage
  • Private Trainers
  • Outdoor Therapy

With a 1:3 staff-to-client ratio, you can get highly personalized treatment that offers therapy and holistic care for both borderline personality disorder and drug use, providing the skills necessary to understand the relationship between the two. With the right treatment, you can learn to manage symptoms of both substance use disorder and borderline personality disorder to live a fulfilling life.

Reach out to our team today to learn more about our innovative mental health and addiction treatment programs.

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