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BDP and Addiction: Everything You Need to Know

The relationship between BPD and addiction is volatile, but borderline personalities are also prone to process addictions like eating disorders. When borderline personality disorder and addiction overlap, the impacts of both conditions are amplified. When these disorders coexist, symptoms such as impulsive and destructive behaviors, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and other disorders can develop.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that makes it hard for people to control their emotions. This lack of emotional control can lead to increased impulsivity, a change in how people think about themselves, and a downturn in interpersonal relationships.

Approximately 6 percent of Americans experience BPD at some time in their lives, and men and women are equally vulnerable. About 73 percent of individuals with BPD will also have a substance use disorder during their lives.

Some of the factors that trigger BPD and addiction

Different Types of BPD

Researchers are still trying to figure out how many different types of BPD there are. Though, some distinct subgroups have formed. The following four types appear to be the most often diagnosed:


People with discouraged borderline symptoms appear dependent and reliant, but they retain a great deal of resentment against others and are often disillusioned. They have a great desire for acceptance and approval, yet they are plagued by thoughts of incompetence and inferiority, making them vulnerable to depression.


Impulsive borderline symptoms can make people feel energized, personable, and fascinating to be around. However, they are easily bored and quick to become angry or offended when others disappoint them, resulting in frequent conflicts. They can engage in a variety of risky behaviors to be the center of attention and escape boredom.


Petulant borderline personality symptoms make people unpredictable and challenging to satisfy. They are often irritated and prone to rage and impatient with others when they do not get what they want. Their relationships can be caring, but they are usually complicated, and they frequently use passive-aggressive behaviors to strike out at others that displease them.


Deep emotions of bitterness and self-hatred accompany self-destructive symptoms. People with BPD seek solace in getting attention from others, and if this need is not met, they may engage in self-destructive activities such as threats of self-harm, suicide attempts, and alcoholism.

Risk Factors That Trigger BPD

An exact reason for borderline personality disorder has yet to be discovered. Despite this, studies have revealed that certain circumstances enhance a person’s chance of having BPD. Genetics, brain chemistry, previous experience, and environmental factors are all potential risk factors for BPD.


A family history of mental health disorders may increase an individual’s chance of developing BPD. This is especially true for people who have a close family member with borderline personality disorder, such as a parent or sibling.

Traumatic Life Events

Many individuals with BPD have encountered traumatic life situations. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, rejection, and adversity in childhood are all instances of traumatic occurrences.

Brain Chemistry

According to research, people with borderline personality disorder exhibit structural and functional brain changes. These changes are frequently observed in impulse control and mood management domains.

Environmental Factors

One of the risk factors for borderline personality disorder is the environment in which one was raised. This might involve disruptions in a child’s family life, frequent aggressive fights, and a lack of communication.

Common Symptoms Associated with BPD:

BPD is characterized by extreme mood swings and a profound sense of instability and insecurity. According to the diagnostic framework of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), significant signs and symptoms may include:

  • Unstable relationships of idealization (“I love her!”) and devaluation (“I hate her”)
  • Distorted self-image impacting feelings, values, attitudes, goals, and relationships
  • Dangerous impulsive actions, such as overspending, unsafe sex, irresponsible driving, and overuse of drugs
  • Intense fear of abandonment and separation from people in relationships with them
  • Anger that is unreasonable, intense, or uncontrolled
  • Difficulty with emotion regulations and feelings of emptiness
  • Stress-related paranoid thoughts
  • Dissociative feelings
  • Suicidal threats or attempts
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Boredom and emptiness
about 73% of individuals with bpd will suffer from bpd and addiction

Treatment of Individuals with BPD

Clinicians advise that a good treatment plan should take into account individual preferences and addresses any “comorbid“ conditions they may have at the same time. Psychotherapy, medications, group meetings, and family support are all forms of treatment. 


Although the Food and Drug Administration has not authorized any medications, particularly for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. But certain medications can assist with symptoms or co-occurring disorders including, sadness, impulsivity, aggressiveness, or anxiety. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers help with mood swings and dysphoria. And for some, low doses of antipsychotic drugs may help control symptoms like disorganized thinking.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is the most common treatment approach for BPD. For people with BPD, learning to manage emotional dysregulation in a therapy setting is typically the key to long-term improvement. The following types of psychotherapy have been proven to be effective:

  • Mentalization-based therapy (MBT)
  • Mindfulness therapies
  • Schema-focused therapy
  • Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Systems training for emotional predictability and problem-solving (STEPPS)


When someone is under a lot of stress or acting impulsively or suicidally, they may need to stay in a treatment center for a short time to keep themselves safe. There are many treatment options available for those who have concerns for their safety or simply want to improve their life and speed the healing process.

According to studies supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), those with borderline personality disorder who do not receive proper treatment are more likely to develop additional chronic medical or mental health disorders and less likely to adopt good lifestyle choices. Before complicating health with further dual diagnosis, it’s essential to seek and stick with treatment. 

Get Help for BPD at The Haven Detox

The Haven Detox is the best place to contact if you or your loved one has a borderline personality disorder (BPD) with a drug or alcohol addiction. We have skilled doctors on board that can assist in sorting through all co-occurring conditions during addiction treatment. We provide personal care to those who need it most. 

For more information, contact The Haven Detox.