Learn About Borderline Personality Disorder and How It Can Lead to Substance Abuse
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition characterized by instability in relationships, dangerously impulsive behavior, unpredictable mood swings and a distorted sense of self.
These symptoms can greatly interfere with an individual’s ability to live a normal, healthy life. An individual with BPD may act impulsively and react poorly to sudden changes in their routine or environment. He or she may express uncertainty about his or her own identity.
Additionally, the impulsiveness associated with BPD can lead individuals to engage in dangerous behaviors, including substance abuse, reckless driving and unsafe sexual behaviors.
According to a report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 6 percent of Americans are expected to be diagnosed with this disorder in their lifetime. Researchers now understand that borderline personality disorder is more prevalent than originally assumed. Furthermore, the report concluded that men and women are equally susceptible to BPD.
Considering the unique symptoms of borderline personality disorder, it makes sense to learn more about this nuanced mental health problem that affects millions of Americans.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
While the symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder are varied and numerous, they are primarily related to unstable behavior, unpredictable moods, and an inconsistent self-image. This lack of stability can also encourage impulsive, reckless behavior. Individuals diagnosed with BPD often spend as much time dealing with the consequences of their impulsive behavior as they do managing their symptoms.
Of the many symptoms associated with BPD, some of the most common examples include:
- Overwhelming fears of abandonment
- A rapidly changing sense of identity
- Unpredictable and intense anger
- Suicidal ideations
- Frequent desire to instigate conflict
- Impulsive high-risk behavior (such as unsafe sex or drunk driving)
- Extended periods of feeling separated from reality
- Chronic feelings of intense emptiness and apathy
- Patterns of emotionally charged, short-lived relationships
Risk Factors for Borderline Personality Disorder
Scientists are still unsure as to the exact causes of borderline personality disorder, but many researchers believe that a mixture of environmental and hereditary factors determine whether an individual will be diagnosed with the disorder. That’s why a comprehensive perspective is most helpful when determining if an individual is at risk for this form of mental illness.
Primary risk factors for borderline personality disorder include:
- Unstable or Traumatic Childhood: One experience that many individuals with BPD share is an unstable or unsafe childhood. Those who have dealt with reoccurring feelings of abandonment or rejection during their childhood are more likely to be diagnosed with this mental disorder later in life. Likewise, adults who experienced physical or sexual abuse as a child are more likely to develop BPD.
- Temperament and Personality: In many cases, a person’s personality traits can make that individual more susceptible to a BPD diagnosis. An individual who is naturally aggressive, impulsive and paranoid, for example, is also predisposed to many of the traits that characterize borderline personality disorder.
- Family Medical History: Most mental health problems have a hereditary influence, and borderline personality disorder is no different. An individual with a family member afflicted with BPD has a much higher chance of developing the disorder himself or herself.
- Biological Irregularities: In some cases of borderline personality disorder, the brain of the patient demonstrates structural abnormalities. Oftentimes, these abnormalities are identified near the parts of the brain that manage impulse control and emotions, leading researchers to believe that these structural differences are related to BPD.
Finding Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Abuse Treatment
One of the most important factors in treating borderline personality disorder is a correct diagnosis. BPD is often misdiagnosed, or the attending medical professionals do not immediately recognize the severity of the condition. BPD symptoms vary on a person-by-person basis and may mimic the symptoms of other conditions, making it more difficult to accurately diagnose patients.
When an individual has BPD and a substance use disorder, diagnosis and treatment become even more complicated. Certain medications used during detox, for instance, may exacerbate the symptoms of BPD.
Likewise, the overwhelming physical symptoms of withdrawal can encourage the antisocial nature of BDP patients. It is vital for medical professionals to find a balance between psychological and physical treatment when rehabilitating any individual with borderline personality disorder.
Expert Treatment in Southern Florida
At The Treatment Center by The Recovery Village, we focus on a whole-person treatment philosophy. Based in West Palm Beach, Florida, our certified psychiatrists and experienced physicians work with patients to develop fully customized treatment plans. This approach ensures that every aspect of their struggles, ranging from substance abuse factors to BPD symptoms, are treated simultaneously.
Call us at (866) 295-6003 to learn more about our Southern Florida treatment options for borderline personality disorder along with substance abuse.