Personality disorders are a type of mental health condition which are characterised by emotional instability, dysfunctional behavioural and thought patterns that negatively affect a person’s ability to function and interact with other people.

The most common type is borderline personality disorder (BPD) which distorts the individual’s self-perception and response to the outside world. People suffering from BPD are unable to maintain stable relationships and they generally develop maladaptive patterns to cope with fear or emotional pain by becoming manipulative or codependent.

People who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder commonly suffer from a co-occurring substance use disorder. An accredited rehab program such as the one we offer at Castle Health, where we are qualified to treat those with a primary of substance use and a secondary personality disorder as abstinence is the first step toward long-term addiction and mental health recovery.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Confused or changing self-image
  • Sufferers are unable to recognise their thoughts and behaviours as problematic
  • Dysfunctional behaviours – such as impulsive or self-harming, intense bouts of anger
  • Extreme mood swings and irrational emotional responses
  • Feelings of emotional emptiness and unworthiness
  • Paranoia and suspicion of others
  • Unstable, challenging relationships
  • Prone to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts
  • Fear of abandonment.

How Personality Disorders and Addiction Overlap

Self-medicating or drug use is initially seen as a method to find relief, numb the pain and treat the unmanageable effects of a personality disorder. In the long run, this becomes a deficient coping mechanism as the harmful symptoms of personality disorder are aggravated. This usually leads to addiction to various drugs, such as antidepressants and painkillers.

The symptoms of addiction are often intertwined with those of personality disorders. Moreover, people who develop BPD problems often come from families with a history of heavy drinking or substance abuse.

Treating someone with these conditions requires specialised care that addresses both issues at the same time. That is why the Castle Health specialised treatment programme is the best option for lifelong recovery from both and is dedicated to:

  • Helping patients find the motivation to make significant changes in their life.
  • Teaching patients to manage moods and handle triggers through practical skills like mindfulness training.
  • Eliminating the environmental cues and social connections that promote substance abuse.
  • Reducing the craving to drink or abuse drugs.
  • Identifying and pursuing meaningful, self-affirming activities that provide a sense of connection to others.
  • Helping patients set and achieve manageable recovery goals, like staying sober one day at a time.

Relapse prevention training is vitally important in Dual Diagnosis rehabilitation, as relapse rates are high among those with dual diagnosis. Relapse prevention often involves peer group support sessions, where clients who have been diagnosed with BPD and addiction can share coping strategies and discuss the challenges of living with this co-occurring disorder.

Extended Treatment for Personality Disorders and Addiction

At Castle Health we involve several specialists in the treatment of dual diagnosis patients suffering from addiction and personality disorders. Our team of medical doctors, Consultant Psychiatrists, nurses and specialised therapists work together to provide the most effective, personalised treatment plan for each individual patient.

The main features of our long-term rehab treatment programme for personality disorders and addiction are:

  • A proper diagnosis as part of our psychiatric assessment conducted by a professional, expert team of Consultant Psychiatrists.
  • We treat BPD patients with a combination of medication and therapy as the patient might need to detox in the first stage of treatment if they have been self-medicating to treat BPD.
  • Typical therapy for BPD and addiction is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – which has been proven to positively change the patient’s beliefs and feelings about themselves, improve self-image and behaviours towards others.
  • Group therapy and 12-step meetings are provided to all patients at Castle Health as a way to strengthen continuing recovery after they complete treatment.
  • We also offer trauma therapy to people with a dual diagnosis of BPD and addiction, as it is common for victims of childhood sexual abuse or trauma to revert to substance abuse to manage feelings of pain from past traumatic events.
  • Family therapy and psychoeducation is an important element of long-term recovery. We believe the family needs to be treated as a whole system – and not just the patient. This therapeutic strategy involves family members in the patient’s treatment and teaches them about personality disorders and addiction and how to best support their loved ones.

If you or someone you care about shows signs of personality disorder and addiction, contact us for professional help.