Prosperity Haven Ohio

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BPD and Addiction


It is not uncommon to suffer from both borderline personality disorder and addiction at the same time. In fact, of the 2.7% of adults suffering from BPD, approximately 78% develop a substance abuse problem. Due to these alarmingly high odds, it is imperative to understand the relationship between BPD and drug addiction. With knowledge comes the ability to tackle this co-occurring disorder head on.

What Is BPD?

Borderline personality disorder tends to predate substance abuse problems. As such, it is necessary to define what it means to have BPD. Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that impairs one’s ability to control their emotions. Left unchecked, these volatile emotions cause them to experience intense mood swings.

Without the ability to manage their emotions, people suffering with borderline personality disorder begin to question their feelings about themselves and those around them. In one moment, they may experience strong feelings of love towards someone. Just as quickly, those feelings can change to strong dislike. This see-saw of emotions lends itself to the inability to maintain stable relationships.

Stable relationships are what keep most people grounded in life. Without this sense of purpose and belonging, those suffering with BPD begin to experience extreme emotional pain. Chronic feelings of emptiness consume them and they begin to avoid both real and perceived abandonment. Even though they might jump headfirst into a relationship, they will just as quickly end things.

This distorted sense of self combined with lack of emotional control breeds impulsivity and recklessness. These dangerous behaviors can include eating binges, shopping sprees, reckless driving, and substance abuse. With an inability to control their emotional stability, those suffering with BPD often question their own self worth and their place in the world. Left unchecked, these feeling lead to recurring suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

BPD and Drug Addiction

Due to the severity of the illness that is borderline personality disorder, it is not difficult to comprehend how it can easily send someone down the path of drug addiction. The intense feelings of emptiness and the inability to connect with others and form stable relationships leaves those suffering with BPD alone and disconnected. Attempting to fill this giant void, they may turn to drugs to alleviate those feelings of discontent.

While drug use may temporarily provide relief from the emotional pain they are experiencing, it does not actually solve any aspect of their disorder. As such, a vicious pattern will emerge. They will continue to seek drugs as a way to control their unmanageable feelings.

Those suffering with BPD tend to see life in a very black and white dimension. Things are either all good or all bad, and there is no in-between. This extremist behavior lends itself greatly to having an addictive personality. Someone with an addictive personality is all in and can never do things half-way. Thus, it is not a far stretch to understand how temporarily seeking relief from drugs can quickly become a more serious problem. When the short-term relief is not enough, they will begin abusing those substances by increasing the amount and frequency of their intake. Before they even realize, they are deep in the throes of a full-blown substance abuse problem.

Not only does drug use not help those suffering with BPD, it actually worsens the condition. The substances tend to heighten the severity of symptoms. Thus, instead of alleviating the symptoms of their disorder, the impulsive behaviors, the reckless actions, the mood swings, and the instability are all heightened, resulting in a destructive cycle of addiction.

Signs Of A Co-Occurring BPD Disorder

An individual suffering from a co-occurring disorder will experience heightened symptoms for each disorder. This is because disorders tend to feed off each other and each will worsen the symptoms of the other, resulting in an endless loop of unmanageable feelings.

The symptoms of co-occurring borderline personality disorder drug addiction can be severe and almost impossible to ignore. Whatever temporary relief the alcohol or drugs provide only leads to long-term worsening of the symptoms. If someone suffering from borderline personality disorder feels empty and unstable, these feelings will progress and become more difficult to manage.

Overwhelming depression and anxiety may set in as the person discovers they are trapped in an endless loop of seeking short term relief that only makes them feel worse. The drug or alcohol abuse continues to become more severe even though they know it is not solving anything. This knowledge does not help to mitigate their need for escape, even though they know it is both temporary and ultimately harmful in the long run.

As this cycle continues, their psychological functioning begins to deteriorate. Whatever iota of home and family life they were able to hold onto starts to crumble away. Feelings of loneliness intensify and they retreat from the world around them. They are no longer able to function in any type of productive manner, resulting in loss of employment, promiscuity, and the inability to perform everyday tasks. Responsibilities fall by the wayside and the co-occurring disorder of addiction and BPD rules and destroys their entire life.

How To Get Help With Prosperity Haven's BPD & Addiction Treatment Program

It can be difficult to diagnose borderline personality disorder since it shares so many symptoms with other mental health conditions. Medical and mental health professionals are needed in order to properly determine the symptoms and their root causes. While it used to be believed that BPD was almost impossible to treat due to the impulsive nature of the disorder, advances in research and medicine have proven that is not the case. Not only can those suffering with borderline personality disorder manage their emotional reactivity, they can even experience a full remission from their symptoms.

However, the path to achieving that full remission is not an easy one, particularly because the substance abuse has worsened and intensified the disorder. Treating two disorders at once requires a very focused and methodical approach. If both are not properly tackled simultaneously, one or the other will continue rearing its ugly head. Conquering this two-headed monster is not something that can be done alone. Successful treatment can only be achieved with the help of highly qualified medical and mental health professionals.

At Prosperity Haven’s BPD & Addiction Treatment Program, our expertly trained team of psychiatric nurse practitioners, behavioral health technicians, therapists and treatments specialists work together with each patient to develop a recovery program that works for them. Located in Ohio, our in-patient rehab center accepts only a small number of clients at a time in order to provide a focused and personalized approach.

Treatment regimens include dialectical behavioral therapy, a therapy designed specifically to help treat borderline personality disorder, group and family therapy, and holistic initiatives. With a focus on mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation, we work alongside each patient to help them disentangle themselves from the destructive loop that is BPD and addiction. Our dedicated staff has one goal in mind – to help each and every patient achieve continued success in both their mental health and addiction recovery journey.

Located in Chardon, Ohio, Prosperity Haven offers advanced inpatient rehab and detox managed by trained professionals. Reach out today to learn more.


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