The Dangers of Leaving Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction Untreated

Once thought to be a cross between neurosis and psychosis (hence the label “borderline”), borderline personality disorder entails a high degree of emotional instability and overall chaos in a person’s daily life. Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, also has a strong genetic component, so brain chemical imbalances account for much of the distress a person experiences.

Like BPD, drug addiction naturally breeds chaos in a person’s life on both a physical and psychological level. This means, someone living with borderline personality disorder and addiction has an even more difficult time managing the affairs of daily life.

When left untreated, both borderline personality disorder and addiction grow worse in severity making it even more difficult to manage BPD symptoms or stop using drugs. If you or someone you know are considering getting treatment help, call our helpline at 888-647-0051 (Who Answers?) for information on available treatment options.

Borderline Personality Disorder Characteristics

According to Mayo Clinic, people living with borderline personality disorder experience of range of distressing symptoms, including:

Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

Addiction exacerbates the emotional instability associated with BPD.

  • Fear of relationship abandonment
  • Distorted self-image
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Paranoid thinking brought on by stress
  • Inability to control anger
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Emotional instability

In effect, borderline personality disorder distorts a person’s thinking and perceptions of self and others causing ongoing misunderstandings and constant emotional distress in his or her daily life.

Potential Dangers

The Combined Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

Not unlike borderline personality disorder, the effects of addiction alter the brain on both a physical and structural level, according to the Journal of Neuropharmacology. These similarities, combined with the overall emotional turmoil that drug abuse naturally breeds over time, wreaks havoc in the life of someone struggling with the two conditions.

Other similarities between borderline personality disorder and addiction include:

  • Impulsive behavior
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Relationship chaos
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Manipulative tendencies
  • Problems holding down a job
  • Problems managing money

Over time, the combined effects of borderline personality disorder and addiction create a downward spiral of destruction in a person’s life.

Self-Harming Behaviors

According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, an estimated 75 percent of BPD sufferers engage in self-harming behaviors, such as cutting, burning and scratching. These activities provide a certain degree of relief from distressing emotional feelings.

Add to this the frequent bouts of depression, sleeplessness and anxiety that come with an opiate or stimulant addiction and self-harming behaviors stand to increase (and keep increasing) at a fast rate.

Suicidal Inclinations

Borderline personality disorder exists as the only psychological disorder where suicidal tendencies are a required criteria for a BPD diagnosis. An estimated 79 percent of people suffering from borderline personality disorder have a history of suicide attempts, with as many as eight to 10 percent actually dying as a result.

With borderline personality disorder and addiction, a person’s emotional state becomes even more so unstable, which greatly increases the likelihood of suicidal thinking and behavior.

Considering how volatile these two conditions can be when combined, the need for treatment help only increases with time. If you or someone you know struggles with borderline personality disorder and addiction and have more questions, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 888-647-0051 (Who Answers?) .


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