Personality Disorder Treatment and Addiction

What is a Personality Disorder?

A Personality disorder is a set of characteristics that negatively impact an individual interpersonally. These characteristics can be self-destructive, self-defeating and self-sabotaging. Often, a person who suffers from a personality disorder will experience issues of perception that create problems in school, work and family life.

While each personality disorder has its own unique profile, there are common threads among all of them. Persons suffering from a personality disorder may have erratic or odd behavior and use substances impulsively to alleviate unwanted feelings.

Symptoms of Personality Disorder

  • Frequent mood swings
  • Stormy relationships
  • Social isolation
  • Angry outbursts
  • Mistrust of others
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Need for instant gratification
  • Poor impulse control
  • Substance abuse
  • Delusions
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Excessive use of defense mechanisms

Personality Disorders and Substance Abuse

The American Society of Addiction Medicine reports that addicts who suffer from personality disorders also have severe psychosocial and medical problems. Personality disorders present with extreme fluctuations in depression, shame and anger as well as significant increases in conflict in interpersonal relationships, behavioral issues, impulsivity and even suicidal gestures.

A lack of stability, both internal and external, lead the personality disordered addict to seek alcohol or drugs to regulate mood, thoughts and behaviors. Anxiety is one of the main emotional disturbances found in personality disordered individuals who also suffer from addiction.  Other emotional disturbances, such as disorganized thinking, produced by symptoms of personality disorders will contribute an individual turning to excessive substance abuse to cope with symptoms. The most common substances abused are alcohol, cocaine and opiates, all of which require detox and drug rehabilitation.

Personality Disorder and Addiction Treatment

People suffering from mental health disorders often turn to drugs and alcohol to medicate their symptoms. In doing so, their conditions could be exacerbated. The use of drugs and alcohol does not alleviate the personality disorder or cure it. In fact, sometimes drugs and alcohol can create other mental health symptoms or worsen symptoms of the personality disorder. Studies indicate that both conditions should be treated in an integrated way for optimal recovery. The best treatment for co-occurring conditions is inpatient dual diagnosis treatment.