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Personality Disorders and Addiction: What’s the Connection?

a woman holds her head in her hands

Mental health and substance abuse disorders often go hand-in-hand. The likelihood that someone with a mental health disorder develops a substance use disorder is high, and vice versa. When someone has diagnoses for both of these conditions, they are said to have co-occurring or dual diagnoses. One of the mental health groups at the highest risk of developing co-occurring diagnoses is the group of people who have a diagnosable personality disorder, including borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD and addiction treatment is most effective when both conditions receive treatment simultaneously.

Substance abuse rehab with dual diagnosis treatment can be a light in the dark for many people struggling with co-occurring disorders. Northpoint Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment options to help you get on the path to recovery. Call us at 888.296.8976 today to get started.

What Is a Personality Disorder?

People with personality disorders have problems with how they think, feel, and behave. They have trouble functioning in social or work situations and relationships. People with these disorders often have a hard time dealing with everyday stress and reacting to changes in their lives.

Personality disorders are in three groups: cluster a, cluster b, and cluster c. Each group has different types of conditions. The types of personality disorders in each group share some similar features. But they also have their unique symptoms.

Some personality disorders include:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Most people with personality disorders were born with genetics that may have played a role in their diagnosis. However, not everyone with these genes will develop a personality disorder. Other factors, like environment and upbringing, may also play a role.

How Do Personality Disorders Affect Addiction?

People with personality disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. They may use substances to self-medicate or numb their emotions. Substance abuse can make some of the symptoms of a personality disorder worse. It can also lead to new problems and diseases.

For example, someone with BPD who abuses alcohol may become more impulsive and have more relationship problems. Someone with schizotypal personality disorder who uses marijuana may have more hallucinations and paranoia.

People with antisocial personality disorder are at a higher risk of developing an addiction since they tend to be more impulsive and take more risks. They may also have trouble feeling empathy for others and obeying rules.

How Does Dual Diagnosis Treatment Work?

If you have a personality disorder and substance abuse disorder, you need dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses both conditions at the same time. These therapies may happen in either an outpatient or inpatient setting.

Both types of treatment can be helpful for people with personality disorders and substance abuse. The kind of treatment that’s best for you will depend on your symptoms and needs.

Therapy for co-occurring personality and substance abuse disorders may include:

Dual diagnosis treatment often takes time. It may take months or even years to see improvements. But with treatment, you can learn to manage your symptoms and live a healthier life.

Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Northpoint Recovery

Our dual diagnosis treatment programs are customized to meet your unique needs. We also offer various therapy options, like cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Our goal is to help you develop the skills you need to manage your symptoms and live a healthy, sober life.

If you or someone you love is struggling with co-occurring disorders, we can help. Call us at 888.296.8976 today to get started.