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Addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder

When it comes to treating addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) simultaneously, the similarities between addiction and BPD can make a correct diagnosis tough. At Palm Partners, we are able to treat Addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder because we are a dual-diagnosis treatment facility. Borderline personality disorder is known by a few characteristics that are also frequently seen in someone with an addiction. The characteristics of borderline personality disorder are someone who is extremely manipulative, dramatic and needy. There is more to borderline personality disorder though.

This kind of behavior stems from a way to cope with overpowering fear and emotional pain. The emotional insecurity and pain along with impulsive behaviors put someone with BPD at a high risk for addiction or can be confused with addiction and in some situations where both are obvious, worsen the symptoms.

Addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder: Diagnosis

When addiction and borderline personality disorder correspond with each other it can be really tough to treat. The resemblances between addiction and borderline personality disorder can make a proper diagnosis practically impossible. When addiction and borderline personality disorder overlap, the symptoms are very much the same, both are characterized by: impulsive and self-destructive behaviors, mood swings, manipulative and deceitful actions, lack of concern for one’s own safety and health, insistence on chasing dangerous behavior, suicidal behavior, depression, paranoia, and instability in jobs, finances and relationships.

Since the characteristics between addiction and borderline personality disorder are so alike, it shows you that it is really important that an individual with drug addiction try to find a dual diagnosis program. In dual diagnosis programs they can successfully diagnose between mental illness and drug abuse.

Addiction and Borderline Personality Disorder: Treatment

Treating addiction and borderline personality disorder is very well-known amongst mental health professionals as being challenging. Clients with addiction and borderline personality disorder frequently will make impractical demands of their therapists and will most likely need continuous contact with their treatment team. An individual with an addiction and BPD might come off as reliant on others because they are often searching for caretakers who can satisfy their emotional needs. They can also be the exact opposite and rebel against their caretakers and become aggressive, angry and paranoid for no reason. This is specifically true of someone with a borderline personality disorder and the addiction just intensifies it.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is one of the most effective ways to approach addiction and borderline personality disorder. DBT is centered on the belief that change can be balanced with self-acceptance. DBT assists individuals with severe psychiatric disorder in creating significant and established lives. This is particularly imperative in someone with an addiction and borderline personality disorder because when someone has an addiction it may appear that they have a mental illness when they really don’t; so using medication to treat mental health issues could be unsafe for someone who has an addiction. While waiting for an addict to recover from their addiction somewhat it is best to use some kind of therapy until an accurate diagnosis can be determined. This makes DBT perfect for someone with addiction and borderline personality disorder. DBT is presented at most drug and alcohol treatment centers including Palm Partners. Some of the benefits of a dual diagnosis program that offers DBT for addiction and borderline personality disorder are: it helps the client find motivation to make changes in their life, it teaches the client to manage moods and handle triggers, it eliminates environmental cues and social situations that promote alcohol or drug abuse, it reduces cravings, it helps the client achieve recovery goals and clients are able to identify and purse self-affirmative activities that help them connect with others. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.

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