Difficult to identify and diagnose, untreated borderline personality disorder eats away at the individual’s sense of self, leading to dangerous and damaging behaviors—including addiction. Because of its ties to self-destructive tendencies, treatment for the addict with borderline personality disorder must include treatment for the underlying mental health issue if there is to be any hope for a successful recovery.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), borderline personality disorder is, “a serious mental illness characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts family and work life, long-term planning, and the individual’s sense of self-identity.”
More simply, personality disorders represent a consistent and long-term pattern of problematic thinking, feeling and actions. At Northbound Treatment Services, we specialize in treating borderline personality disorder co-occurring with a substance abuse or chemical dependency. Though a variety of treatment methods, including group therapy, individual therapy, experiential therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, we create an individualized plan that will give the person with this dual diagnosis the best chance for a return to mental and physical health.
Individuals with BPD tend to exhibit:
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
- Mood swings
- Engagement in self-destructive behaviors (substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating, etc.)
- Lack of self-identity
- High expectations of other people
- Manipulation of others
- Suicidal tendencies and deliberate self-harm
In order to combat these symptoms, Northbound offers specialized treatment for those who suffer from addiction and borderline personality disorder. The most powerful of these treatments uses a cognitive behavioral approach. Our skilled and experienced clinical staff will help the client become more aware of other people’s perspectives and how to react and interact with them.
On occasion, it may be necessary to prescribe medication in addition to treating the client through therapy. Certain psychiatric drugs, such as anti-depressants can be very effective when combined with individually tailored therapeutic techniques. In some more extreme cases it may also be necessary to prescribe anti-psychotic drugs as well. However, Northbound always strives to use medication as sparingly as possible, and only when under the direction of an experienced psychiatrist as part of an integrated treatment plan.
Personality disorders commonly co-occur with other illnesses and can be difficult to diagnose. Because Northbound’s philosophy revolves around providing the full spectrum of treatment, both mental and physical, in freeing our clients from chemical addiction, our facility and the staff are well equipped to handle the specific needs of those with personality disorders.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is often referred to as “talking therapy” and has been shown to be especially effective in treating borderline personality disorder, as well as other AXIS-II Disorders. DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, meaning that it focuses on cognition and behavior, thoughts/beliefs and actions, and their role in the treatment of the underlying disorder. Addressing cognitive distortions and re-training the mind to change the initial cognitive response and take new action is an important part of treating most AXIS-II disorders and reducing the symptoms of BPD.
Traditionally, DBT integrates both individual psychotherapy and group skills training as a way to help the patient develop higher-level coping skills. Through DBT, the therapist will help the patient develop the tools that will make him more aware of his symptoms, and subsequently monitor those symptoms and use the tools provided on a daily, ongoing, basis.
Clients have reacted positively to the experience of DBT and their progress towards creating a more healthy and aware response. The progress is tracked by the therapist, helping the client to recognize the forward strides they’ve made and helped the staff at Northbound continue to adapt the treatment program as necessary. Along the way, the staff celebrates the small successes and in this way we can help those suffering from addiction and borderline personality disorder on the path to long-term recovery.