Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders: Personality Disorders and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is difficult to handle. In fact, it often leads a person to act differently, and it may negatively affect his or her health. When other mental problems are present, addiction becomes even harder to battle. Occasionally, personality disorders and substance abuse co-occur. When a dual diagnosis occurs, it is essential to treat both conditions so that a complete recovery is possible. 

By and large, it is crucial to find help from a professional treatment facility. At Harmony Place, we ensure that patients receive individualized treatment for all of their problems. Ultimately, the goal is to enjoy sobriety in the long-term.

Types of Personality DisordersWhat are Personality Disorders?

Personality disorders are defined as conditions where patients experience impairments in themselves and their interpersonal functions. In other words, numerous personality traits exist simultaneously, and they negatively affect an individual’s living situation. Personality disorders affect the way an individual copes with life, manages relationships, and deals with emotions. This can be quite confusing. In order to mask the symptoms, many people turn to drugs or alcohol.

Types of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are classified into clusters. For diagnosis, a doctor performs an assessment that analyzes a person’s feelings, emotions, and behaviors. Each personality disorder is diagnosed according to guidelines from the World Health Organization.

Personality Disorders in “Cluster A”

These disorders make it difficult for a person to relate to others. In other words, he or she may exhibit eccentric behavior.

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder: An individual feels suspicious of things without any reason. As a result, the person holds grudges or feels rejected.
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder: A person prefers to be alone and avoids close relationships, especially in the conventional family setting. As a result, the individual appears cold and remote.
  • Schizotypal: A person exhibits weird thoughts, odd behaviors, and an atypical appearance. This makes it difficult to have normal relationships.

Personality Disorders in “Cluster B”

These disorders make it hard for a person to control his or her emotions.

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: A person acts impulsively and recklessly. As a result, a person gets frustrated quickly and may be prone to violent behavior.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: A person has frequent mood swings and may feel anxious most of the time. As a result, a person has trouble coping with life’s personal challenges. In this matter, becomes easy to turn to drugs or alcohol.
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder: A person feels the need to be the center of attention. With this in mind, he or she becomes anxious when ignored. Therefore, the individual tends to act over-dramatically.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: A person’s self-importance ranks on top of everything else. Many times, he or she desires admiration for infinite successes. In other words, individuals with this disorder tend to act entitled.

Personality Disorders in “Cluster C”

These disorders create strong feelings of anxiety and fear.

  • Dependent Personality Disorder: A person allows others to take responsibility for his or her life. Self-confidence is low. Therefore, issues of hopelessness and abandonment are common.
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder: A person is afraid of being negatively judged. As a result, social situations are often challenging. Low self-esteem and rejection are feelings that cause a person to turn to drugs or alcohol.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: A person becomes anxious when things in life seem unorganized. In other words, everything must be in order. Even the smallest details are important, and a person feels that his or her actions are justified.

Causes of Personality Disorders

Although the causes of personality disorders are not clear, different factors may be to blame. 

  • Biological factors may cause them.
  • Genetics may be at the root of the disorders.
  • Also, environmental factors may play a part. For example, many people have experienced trauma or abuse during childhood.

What is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is defined as excessive use of drugs or alcohol that causes negative effects on the user, society, or both. Physical dependence causes a person’s life to be disrupted. Also, withdrawal symptoms occur when a person stops drinking or using drugs.

Signs and Symptoms of Personality Disorders

Behaviors associated with personality disorders are either eccentric, dramatic, or fearful. There are both emotional and physical symptoms of these disorders.

Emotional Symptoms

Depending on the particular disorder, emotional symptoms result and vary according to the severity. For example, a person may avoid conflict or have poor impulse control. Others may feel hopeless.

Physical Symptoms

Personality disorders affect the brain, so they may cause an individual to neglect his or her physical health. For example, a person may practice poor hygiene or suffer from insomnia. Others may have chapped skin from frequent handwashing.

Professional Treatment for Dual DiagnosesHow Personality Disorders and Substance Abuse Co-Occur

Research shows that a relationship between personality disorders and substance abuse can certainly occur. Frequently, these two conditions occur at the same time. In fact, results showed that a person who suffers from a personality disorder is likely to develop a different condition, especially substance misuse.

Altogether, drug or alcohol abuse does not cause a personality disorder. However, addiction does negatively affect the symptoms of a personality disorder. For instance, some people who have borderline personality disorder also have a dependence on drugs or alcohol.

Again, it is common for people to alleviate the emotional symptoms of a personality disorder with drugs or alcohol. For example, an individual with an avoidant personality disorder may take drugs or excessively use alcohol to get past feelings of social awkwardness.

Signs and Symptoms of Drug or Alcohol Abuse

  • Legal trouble
  • Taking safety risks
  • Problems at work or school
  • Drinking or using drugs despite issues
  • Not being able to limit drinking or drug use
  • Needing more alcohol or drugs to get a “buzz” or “high”
  • Giving up activities to recover from a hangover
  • Craving a drink or a drug
  • Social withdrawal
  • Secret consumption

The Importance of Seeking Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Personality Disorders and Addiction

When two disorders co-occur, it is essential to seek treatment for both problems. Seeking help for one will not make the other disappear. It has been noted that an individual with a personality disorder often turns to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with symptoms. Therefore, finding a way to manage the personality disorder and learning ways to cope with the symptoms will help a person stop using.

It is essential to uncover a rehab facility that specializes in the unique problems that come from a patient with a dual diagnosis. Overall, a person will receive individualized care that helps him or her gain sobriety and enjoy long-term recovery.

Professional Treatment for Dual Diagnoses

Obviously, no two people are alike. A patient with a dual diagnosis has individual needs that require a customized plan for treatment. Overall, therapies will be blended to target the individual issues of each patient. For example, a person may benefit from conventional talk therapy in a 1-on-1 setting. In fact, cognitive behavior therapy can be extremely beneficial. This helps a person address problematic thoughts so that overcoming addiction is possible. It teaches a patient healthy ways to cope when trigger strike.

Group Therapy

Patients receive group therapy as well. Meeting with others helps individuals learn that they are not alone. In fact, it is possible to share challenges and to gain support from others who suffer from similar issues.

Holistic Therapies

Holistic therapy is possible as well. Relaxation techniques and other non-conventional therapies may be utilized to help calm an individual so that he or she remains on the road to long-term recovery.

Family Therapy

Also, family counseling is a key part of treatment. When a person suffers from addiction, it affects family and other loved ones. To learn ways to offer support and to heal damaged relationships, family therapy is essential.

What is Substance Abuse?What are the Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Seeking treatment for a dual diagnosis brings a number of benefits. Treatment for co-occurring disorders can help people:

  • Learn coping skills
  • Improve psychiatric health

On the whole, the most essential result of treatment is learning healthy ways to cope. When a patient can recognize possible triggers, it is possible to have a plan in place to prevent relapse.

Within a dual diagnosis, a person is challenged with some type of mental illness. In this case, it is a personality disorder. As can be seen, many individuals who have personality disorders turn to drugs and alcohol for self-medicating purposes. Receiving help from a trusted facility breaks the cycle of addiction. Also, medical professionals can monitor patients’ mental health, prescribe medication to keep things in balance, and track progress.

Reaching Out to an Experienced Recovery Facility

When an individual wants assistance for his or her dual diagnosis in Woodland Hills, CA, he or she may turn to Harmony Place. We have a variety of treatments for people who suffer from substance misuse disorders and personality disorders.

Ultimately, we provide medical detox and numerous therapies to help individuals regain sober ways of life. As a result, patients receive individualized attention and customized plans that encourage long-term recovery. In conclusion, we provide a safe and relaxing environment to begin treatment. By and large, when a person is ready to take the first step, he or she should contact us today.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK319/ 

https://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/bluebook.pdf