logo

Embracing Recovery: Addressing Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

How are borderline personality disorder and addiction related? How can you heal from both conditions simultaneously? Find out here.
Table of Contents

Introduction

The complexity of mental health is undeniable, often intertwined with physiological factors and past experiences that shape our well-being.

At Mind Body Optimization (MBO), we recognize this intricacy through our integrative approach to treatment, embracing a whole-person understanding of health.

For those grappling with the challenges of borderline personality disorder and addiction, the compounding concerns can feel overwhelming. However, with comprehensive dual diagnosis care and unwavering support, sustainable healing is possible.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. This can manifest in mood swings, impulsivity, and unstable relationships.1

For many, these BPD symptoms prompt attempts to self-medicate through substance use. However, rather than alleviating distress, this substance use often exacerbates existing mental health challenges.2

The Path to Wellness at MBO

At Mind Body Optimization, we recognize the pain beneath self-medication and other behaviors. Our goal is to empower you with the tools needed to embrace recovery and overall well-being.
Through evidence-based modalities tailored to address borderline personality disorder and addiction, along with their complex interplay, we can walk this path together. Sustainable healing starts from within, but you don’t have to navigate alone.

Understanding the Scope of BPD

Statistics underscore the urgent need for this comprehensive support. In the United States, up to 6% of adults have BPD.3
Compared to the general population, individuals with BPD also have an increased risk for having a substance use disorder. At MBO, our approach accounts for this correlation, ensuring those with co-occurring BPD and addiction can access effective treatment.4

Understanding the Interplay Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

To holistically support those with co-occurring borderline personality disorder and substance use disorder (SUD), understanding the interplay between these conditions is vital.

Overview of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a condition marked by intense emotions, impulsive behaviors, and chronic emptiness.
Key characteristics include:
  • Emotional Dysregulation: Intense and rapidly shifting mood states are common. Feelings of sadness, anger, shame, and anxiety may often spiral out of control. 
  • Unstable Relationships: Individuals often alternate between idealization and devaluation in relationships. There may also be fears of abandonment.
  • Impulsivity: Impulsive behaviors can include substance use, reckless driving, and unsafe sexual encounters. These serve to alleviate unpleasant emotions temporarily.
  • Self-Harm: Some engage in self-harm behaviors, like cutting, to manage emotional pain. Suicidal threats or attempts may also occur during times of crisis.

These symptoms typically start in early adulthood. However, many with BPD often mask their struggles, making assessment complex.

At MBO, our experienced clinicians carefully evaluate each client’s unique presentation to guide borderline personality disorder and addiction treatment.

The Relationship Between BPD and Substance Use Disorder

Why is the link between borderline personality disorder and addiction so common? This is because many individuals turn to substances to find temporary relief from BPD symptoms. However, substance use often worsens emotional dysregulation in the long run.
This perpetuates a cycle of escalating substance use in an attempt to alleviate intensifying BPD symptoms.
Additionally, impulsivity and recklessness associated with BPD increase the likelihood of developing SUD. Sensation-seeking tendencies prompt greater substance experimentation, while impulsivity results in an inability to limit intake.

Impact on Treatment Outcomes For Borderline Personality Disorder And Addiction

The complex interplay between borderline personality disorder and addiction poses unique treatment challenges. Without proper support, individuals often struggle to manage escalating symptoms and substance use.
However, with our integrated approach to dual diagnosis treatment, Mind Body Optimization empowers individuals to embrace recovery. By addressing both conditions concurrently through tailored modalities, we foster stability and well-being.

Holistic Assessment and Dual Diagnosis Treatment Planning

The first step in treating both conditions is to conduct specialized assessments to obtain a detailed understanding of each client’s unique presentation.
This allows our team to create integrated borderline personality disorder and addiction treatment plans that address both disorders concurrently.

Comprehensive Evaluation

Our compassionate clinicians utilize a range of assessment measures to evaluate symptoms of BPD, substance use disorder severity, and associated clinical concerns, such as trauma or depression.
We will conduct psychological testing, clinical interviews, and physical exams to inform diagnosis and treatment planning.
Some examples include:
  • Structured Clinical Interview for Mental Health Disorders: This evaluates a broad range of psychiatric symptoms to aid in diagnosis. 
  • Substance Use Disorder Diagnostic Schedule: This screens for SUD severity across classes of substances.
  • Childhood Trauma Questionnaire: This assesses history of abuse, neglect, or trauma.
  • Beck Depression Inventory: This screens for the presence and severity of depressive symptoms.

By identifying all relevant clinical issues through specialized testing, we obtain crucial insight into the origins and patterns sustaining each individual’s struggles.

This allows us to create integrated treatment plans that specifically target the factors exacerbating co-occurring BPD and SUD.

Collaborative Care

Successfully managing co-occurring disorders requires collaboration across specialties. Our team consists of psychiatrists, therapists, and nurses working together to offer comprehensive support. We also coordinate with outside providers, like primary care doctors, to address relevant medical concerns.
This level of collaboration ensures consistent implementation of treatment strategies across settings. Individuals benefit from the collective expertise of various providers working synergistically towards their recovery goals.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction: Evidence-Based Interventions for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Once assessment and diagnosis are complete, Mind Body Optimization leverages a range of evidence-based modalities tailored to target both borderline personality disorder and addiction concurrently.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an empirically-supported treatment developed specifically for individuals with BPD.5

DBT utilizes techniques from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) alongside concepts of acceptance and mindfulness. The overarching aims are to enhance emotion regulation capacities and distress tolerance skills.

DBT is structured into four key components:

  1. Individual Therapy: Individuals learn to apply DBT techniques to manage emotions and improve relationships.
  2. Skills Training Groups: Clients practice mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal skills.
  3. Phone Coaching: Therapists provide in-the-moment skill coaching to clients when emotional crises arise.
  4. Consultation Team: Therapists consult with other clinicians to optimize implementation of DBT.
This multifaceted approach equips clients with tangible methods for navigating intense emotions without relying on substances. By building distress tolerance and self-soothing skills, DBT empowers clients to embrace recovery.
In various research studies, DBT has decreased rates of both substance use and suicide attempts. This outcome highlights DBT’s utility as a first-line treatment for concurrent BPD and SUD.6

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

While DBT targets BPD symptoms, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) often focuses directly on substance use habits. CBT helps clients identify triggers for cravings and then work to build healthy coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.
The first phase utilizes functional analysis to uncover high-risk scenarios for substance use. Next, clients master strategies to disrupt addictive behaviors.
CBT provides an actionable skill set for remaining sober while managing BPD symptoms. Studies demonstrate CBT significantly improves SUD treatment outcomes. By tailoring treatment to each client’s unique condition, CBT fosters self-efficacy in recovery.7

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Initially, individuals may be ambivalent about change. Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is ideal for fostering engagement early in treatment by resolving this ambivalence.
MET utilizes open-ended questions and reflective listening to elicit self-motivational statements. This empowers clients to voice their own reasons for change. MET also helps individuals establish clear recovery goals they genuinely believe in.
For those with co-occurring BPD and SUD, MET builds readiness to engage in other therapies. MET significantly increases treatment retention and reduces substance use compared to standard care. By aligning treatment with each client’s internal motivations, MET enables meaningful progress.8

Client-Specific Treatment Modalities For Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

In addition to established evidence-based practices, Mind Body Optimization also offers supplementary treatment components tailored to each client’s unique needs.
These can include:
This diversity of options allows us to create integrated treatment plans aligned with each client’s recovery goals, lifestyle, and interests. By accounting for all factors influencing well-being, our holistic approach empowers individuals to fully embrace healing.

Addressing Triggers and Enhancing Coping Skills

While evidence-based therapies build a strong foundation, individuals also need concrete methods for navigating challenges in daily life. We provide personalized strategies for managing substance use triggers, regulating emotional reactions, and communicating effectively interpersonally.

Identifying Triggers

Triggers refer to any internal or external stimulus that increases cravings or urges to use substances. Common examples include:
  • Negative Emotions: Feelings like anger, sadness, shame, or emptiness can prompt substance use.
  • Interpersonal Conflict: Fights with loved ones or fears of abandonment may act as triggers.
  • Contact with Substances: Seeing drug paraphernalia or visiting old friends can spark cravings.
  • Boredom: Lack of stimulation or purpose may lead clients to seek out substances.
Through functional analysis, clients learn to pinpoint their unique high-risk scenarios. This is imperative for anticipating and circumventing situations that increase relapse risk.
We also help individuals build “rescue plans” that detail healthy coping strategies for responding to triggers when they do arise.

Developing Coping Skills

Mind Body Optimization equips individuals with tangible techniques for managing distress without relying on substances.
Core skill areas include:
  • Emotion Regulation: Clients learn to identify emotions early and respond adaptively. This prevents escalation into crises. Strategies like mindfulness, opposite action, and sensory grounding are key.
  • Distress Tolerance: Individuals will build resilience in coping with uncomfortable thoughts or feelings without acting impulsively or self-sabotaging. Techniques include self-soothing, radical acceptance, and distraction.
  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: Clients learn to set boundaries and assert needs while maintaining relationships. This minimizes conflicts that may serve as risk factors.
By helping individuals enhance coping capacities across contexts, we empower meaningful and lasting change. Clients gain the tools to navigate challenges independently while also knowing support is available if needed.

Enhancing Stability Through Lifestyle Factors

In addition to psychotherapy, lifestyle components like nutrition, sleep hygiene, and exercise profoundly influence mental health and addiction recovery outcomes.

Nutritional Counseling (Coming Soon)

We will provide dietary counseling to ensure stable blood sugar and hormone levels. This alleviates mood instability, cravings, and impulsive urges.

Sleep Hygiene

Establishing healthy sleep routines enhances emotional regulation capacities and resilience. We offer cognitive and pharmacological sleep aids as needed.

Physical Wellness Plans

Exercise naturally boosts dopamine and serotonin levels while also reducing stress. Our personalized fitness regimens and recreational therapy promote overall stability.
Optimizing lifestyle factors bolsters treatment gains, providing a foundation for lasting wellness. By addressing all facets influencing health, our holistic approach enables clients to fully embrace recovery.
Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction

Addressing Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction With MBO

The complexity of co-occurring borderline personality disorder and addiction calls for specialized support. Through Mind Body Optimization’s integrative approach, we empower individuals to embrace sustainable healing of their whole health, including their mind, body, and spirit.

We encourage anyone struggling with the compounding concerns of borderline personality disorder and addiction to take the courageous step towards lasting change. Our team is here to walk alongside you, providing comprehensive and compassionate care tailored to your unique needs.

You possess the inner wisdom needed to pave your path forward — we will simply help guide the way with unwavering support.

What Do We Provide?

At Mind Body Optimization, our commitment is to continued innovation in dual diagnosis treatment, exploring cutting-edge therapies while also drawing upon the established effectiveness of modalities like cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.
We believe that progress lies within reach for all, and we are honored to bear witness to your resilience and growth.

Get in Touch Today

If you or your loved one is grappling with co-occurring borderline personality disorder and addiction, do not hesitate to reach out. Call us today at (972) 590-9909 or submit a contact form on our website to learn more about our dual diagnosis programming.

We are ready to listen and craft collaborative treatment plans that embrace your unique story.

Together, we can pave a path worth following. One where we can all find sustainable change.