Borderline Personality Disorder

Struggling from a drug or alcohol addiction is detrimental enough on its own. But, if the person struggling with addiction also suffers from a Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD, it is even more challenging. Borderline Personality Disorder and addiction are referred to as a co-occurring disorder or Dual Diagnosis. Dual Diagnosis is where a patient has an addiction and a mental illness at the same time. Having Borderline Personality Disorder and an addiction is an extremely dangerous combination. Individuals with BPD already have a lack of self-worth and are more susceptible to destructive behaviors such as addiction.

Do I Have BPD? Does My Loved One Have BPD?

With any diagnosis, always remember that the Internet is a tool to help you but not to diagnosis you. Always seek the knowledge of a professional in person. They will be able to appropriately identify whether a person has BPD or not. If you feel that you have been misdiagnosed, you can always seek a second opinion from another professional.

Some ways to start investigating whether or not you have BPD is to look at your emotions. Those with BPD are viewed by others to be very manipulative, dramatic, and dependent. However, professionals see these as poor techniques the individual uses to cope with fear and pain that is too overwhelming. Many individuals with BPD have dysfunctional emotions, have a short fuse, and may go into fits of rage easily. They may take something someone said very personally when in reality nothing negative was mentioned. Those suffering from BPD have an unstable self-image and suffer from dysregulated thoughts, relationships, patterns of thinking, and behaviors.

Individuals with BPD also tend to have strained and fragile relationships. They often threaten to commit suicide or inflict self-harm. Perhaps they have even attempted suicide. Sometimes, those with BPD resort to cutting or other negative self-harming behaviors. They also feel empty. They engage in a lot of helplessness and seek help but don’t follow through to a resolution. People with BPD are demanding and put high expectations on themselves or others. Their lives are in a constant state of crisis which leads to shame or low self-worth, despite the fact they may be highly intelligent and accomplished individuals. Those suffering from BPD do not understand why others do not view things the same way they do. They may also be antisocial and have moodiness. Individuals with BPD may also have panic episodes where they will try to avoid abandonment regardless of if it’s real or imaginary. They might even suffer from depression and paranoia.

What Are The Causes Of BPD?

How BPD starts is still unknown, but there are key theories as to how it might begin:

  • The individual grew up in an environment where they felt abandoned or neglected. These individuals are more likely to develop BPD later on in life.
  • Past history of trauma or sexual abuse also can play a role in developing BPD.
  • BPD may have been passed down to the person through hereditary factors. There may be a genetic predisposition to BPD if a parent or sibling also suffers from it.
  • Those suffering from BPD may have unpredictable behaviors, impulsivity, and unstable emotions that may not be regulated properly in the brain. This is a neurological cause.
  • There may also be an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. This is a brain chemistry imbalance that may play a role in BPD.

BPD And Addiction

Now that we’ve singled out how BPD can affect individuals, we can look at how having an addiction on top of that can complicate things even further. Many people who currently battle an alcohol or drug addiction were raised in an environment where someone abused alcohol or drugs. Individuals who have a past history of trauma or sexual abuse are more at risk of developing a substance abuse later on in their life. This is because the individual is seeking ways to bury strong emotions such as anger or fear.

How Does BPD and Addiction Affect Individuals?

  • Individuals that have BPD are already impulsive and more likely to be suicidal. Choosing to abuse drugs or alcohol will definitely lead to more destructive behaviors. Abusing drugs and alcohol leads to increased chances of self-harm.
  • Both BPD and addiction share impulsive and self-harming behaviors.
  • Abusing drugs and having BPD can both lead an individual to have extremely manic or depressive states.
  • Addiction and BPD often lead to individuals struggling with relationships, finances, and employment.
  • There may be a total disregard for one’s own safety. Individuals with BPD and an addiction may be very persistent with accepting dangerous behaviors and are indifferent to the risks associated with those behaviors.
  • Both addiction and BPD can cause individuals to be deceitful and manipulative.
  • Both BPD and addiction can be poor coping mechanisms to deal with pain or fear.
  • Suicidal tendencies, paranoia, moodiness, and depression are common to both BPD and substance abuse. The individual is already predisposed to have these symptoms with BPD and the situation becomes more dangerous when adding an addiction into the mix.

What You Can Do Right Now

Treating an individual with BPD and an addiction may be a challenge, but it is possible. Individuals suffering from BPD and addiction need to seek help immediately. You will need to attend a rehab facility that treats Dual Diagnosis patients. Attending a facility that treats only your BPD symptoms or just your addiction will be of little use to you. You must treat symptoms of both your addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder at the same facility to be most successful. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) have proven to yield great results for individuals suffering from BDP and addiction. Sometimes medications that help balance neurotransmitter levels (such as SSRIs that treat depression) can be prescribed and are found to be beneficial.

Contact us right now at you think you might be suffering from BPD or have been diagnosed with BPD and also have an addiction, don’t wait. Seek help today. We can answer any questions you may have and help you find the right Dual Diagnosis facility. Contact us right now at