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Freedom From Addiction is one of Canada's most innovative recovery homes, best known for providing individualized and holistic treatment approaches to guide clients towards a life of healing and sobriety. We have a team of qualified healthcare professionals and addiction specialists who combine their knowledge and expertise to provide a comprehensive borderline personality disorder treatment for co-occurring cases of BPD and addiction.

How Borderline Personality Disorder Affects Addiction

Borderline personality disorder or BPD is a debilitating mental health illness characterized by a distorted perception about one's self-image, the people around them, and situations in life, causing significant impairment and distress.

Most borderline personality disorder treatments and diagnoses identify genetics, brain abnormalities, hereditary predisposition, stressful childhood, or traumatic events as the most significant risk factors for BDP.

BPD Symptoms

Borderline personality disorder can look different on different people. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CAMH), BPD symptoms are categorized into five groups:

  • Unstable behaviour – Often described as having self-destructive and impulsive actions regardless if they put themselves or other people in peril. For example, inflicting harm on one's self, such as cutting or binging on highly addictive substances.
  • Unstable emotions – An uncontrollable shift in moods and emotions, which may range from rage, boredom, loneliness, shame, guilt, panic, and terror. For example, bursting into fits of anger or spiralling into intense episodes of anxiety, depression, and paranoia that can last for hours or days after a particularly triggering event.
  • Unstable relationships – The inability to maintain healthy personal relationships due to having intense abandonment issues and a sudden and unexplainable shift in feelings towards other people shifting from intense love to hate.
  • Unstable sense of identity – Otherwise known as identity disturbance, some people with BPD do not have a firm grasp of who or what kind of person they are characterized by extreme feelings of worthlessness and emptiness about one's self and life. They may be feeling good about themselves one day and then hating themselves the next for no apparent reason. As a result, they may often find themselves hopping from one job to another, changing romantic partners quickly, or joining different religions.  
  • Awareness problems – Individuals with BPD and addiction may experience hallucinations or delusions, usually after a triggering event and become out of touch with reality. This can manifest as paranoia or anxiety about other people's intentions or feel as if they are out of their bodies, also known as dissociative symptoms.

BPD and Co-Occurring Disorders

BPD can also be diagnosed with other mental illnesses or concurrent disorders, such as:

  • Clinical depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Alcoholism and substance use disorder

A co-occurring of BPD and addiction is extremely prevalent as drug and alcohol use is sought for temporary relief from painful and distressing emotions. Unfortunately, getting under the influence of these addictive substances only exacerbates BPD symptoms, heightening their already uncontrollable emotions, triggering a proclivity for promiscuous behaviours and self-destructive tendencies. 

The Importance of Treating Borderline Personality Disorder During Addiction Recovery

Based on a study, borderline personality disorder affects 2.7% of adults, and 78% of these adults with BPD also develop a substance-related disorder at some point in their lives. It is crucial that, like other co-occurring disorders, patients struggling with BPD and addiction should be treated with a holistic co-occurring treatment that addresses both conditions simultaneously to ensure a successful recovery.

Here are some of the most compelling reasons why:

  • They are more emotionally vulnerable and clinically less stable than BPD patients without substance abuse issues.
  • They have shorter abstinence phases and frequent relapses.
  • They have a higher risk of quitting from addiction and borderline personality disorder treatments.
  • They have a severe susceptibility to self-harm, suicide, and drug overdoses. Research has shown that about 75% of people with BPD will make at least one suicide attempt in their lifetime, and many will make multiple suicide attempts.
  • They have a generally poorer prognosis for addiction treatment.

How Borderline Personality Disorder Is Treated

BPD treatment is a complex matter that requires a plethora of interventions and careful considerations due to certain risks for polydrug abuse or dependence on prescription drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends incorporating Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), a type of cognitive-behavioural therapy specifically designed to reduce self-harm behaviours and drug abuse for BPD treatment.

At Freedom From Addiction, we recognize that there is no standalone approach to treating substance use disorders, let alone co-occurring cases of BPD and addiction. Instead of relying on drug detox alone, we have found more success in getting to the root cause of addiction, taking evidence-based, holistic approaches, and creating an individualized treatment plan based on each client's unique circumstances.

Our dual diagnosis treatment includes:

Medical Detox

Patients with overlapping disorders of BPD and addiction have often spent years using drugs and alcohol as a way to self-medicate. Quitting on their own at home may not be safe due to the extreme withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process. Freedom From Addiction offers safe, effective, and medically guided drug detox programs that help the body flush out trace amounts of alcohol and drugs while providing necessary support for the patient to manage the withdrawal symptoms as comfortably as possible.

Drug Addiction Treatment

We offer different types of drug addiction treatment programs tailored to fit the client's personal needs. We have residential treatment, in-house or hospitalization, outpatient programs, and behavioural counselling. We also have an impressive team of medical professionals and addiction specialists who are qualified to treat all types of addiction to illicit drugs, including:

Alcohol Addiction Treatment 

Individuals with borderline personality disorder are at significant risk of developing alcohol use disorder or alcoholism. For clients with a dual diagnosis of BPD and substance use disorder, our alcohol rehab and alcohol addiction treatment services are designed to provide support at every step of the way. These include:

  • Helping families and friends stage interventions
  • Providing detoxification and psychosocial support designed to address drinking problems
  • Conducting individual and group counselling for maintaining abstinence and relapse prevention
  • Giving family therapy and emotional support for loved ones who may have been hurt or want to be involved in the healing process.

Mental Health Treatment

The core of our dual-diagnosis treatment at Freedom From Addiction is our mental health treatment program. It effectively helps pinpoint potential risk factors, past trauma, and potential triggers that may have resulted in the clients' BPD and addiction. But more importantly, they are also designed to teach them how to unlearn negative thinking patterns, emotions, and unhealthy coping mechanisms by replacing them with positive behaviours.

Our mental health treatment involves integrative therapies, such as: 

Our Integrated Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction Treatment Approach

Although there’s now a burgeoning awareness in the world of addiction recovery about the widespread prevalence of co-occurring disorders involving substance use and mental health illnesses, there’s still a limited number of drug rehabs that offer dual-diagnosis treatments.

Individuals who have a dual diagnosis for BPD and addiction are left with no choice but to complete their addiction program before getting access to a proper borderline personality disorder treatment. Without an available therapy for the concurrent disorder, the least these drug rehabs can do is provide a referral for a separate borderline personality disorder treatment, overlooking the possibility of relapse, or worse, suicide.

Freedom From Addiction is an addiction recovery home based in Aurora, Ontario. Our dual-diagnosis treatment programs are backed by years of extensive review of scientific literature regarding addiction and co-occurring disorders. We have a team of experts that implement evidence-based dual-diagnosis treatment plans and a continuing care program to provide clients with all the support they need. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from BPD and addiction, we are here to help you. Start a new life of healing and happiness. Contact Freedom From Addiction today.

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