While there are many mental and emotional health disorders with elevated rates of comorbidity with addiction, borderline personality disorder is one that research shows has particularly high rates of comorbidity. In other words, it’s particularly common for people suffering from borderline personality disorder to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. At a glance, this would seem to suggest some sort of causality, meaning that one disorder leads to the other. But is that actually the case? If not, what is the relationship between borderline personality disorder and addiction?
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Just as the spectrum of human emotion is broad and diverse, so too are the various mental and emotional health disorders that can develop in the mind. In fact, it’s only relatively recently that we’ve really begun to understand how the brain works, how mental and emotional disorders develop, and how these disorders should be addressed, and we’ve hardly even scratched the surface. Of course, some mental and emotional health disorders — e.g. depression, anxiety disorder — are somewhat straightforward, but there are some that are much more complex, including borderline personality disorder.
Borderline personality disorder — known as BPD for short and sometimes alternately referred to as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) — is mental health disorder that’s characterized by long-term patterns of abnormal or maladaptive behavior. In particular, people who suffer from borderline personality disorder tend to exhibit such characteristics as having volatile and unstable relationships with others, have a very poor sense of self, and tend to have very unstable, unpredictable emotions. In fact, people with borderline personality disorder are known to commonly inflict self-harm and other, similarly dangerous behaviors.