How Can the Distress Caused by a Personality Disorder Exacerbate an Addiction?

As if having to deal with an addiction isn’t troubling enough, a lot of clients also come into rehab with emotional and mental issues. That is a lot for any one person to have to deal with at one time. With that said, it is a reality that is more pervasive than most people realize.

To make matters worse, there are times when there is a causation relationship between the addiction and the emotional/mental health issue. The addiction treatment community refers to that as co-occurring disorders. When clients enter rehab with co-occurring disorders, it complicates the treatment process for both the client and their therapists.

Lets assume you already have a diagnosis for a personality disorder. It might be anyone of several personality disorders from this list:

  • Paranoid PD
  • Schizotypal PD
  • Schizoid PD
  • Narcissistic PD
  • Histrionic PD
  • Borderline PD
  • Antisocial PD
  • Obsessive-compulsive PD
  • Avoidant PD
  • Dependent PD

In an interesting twist, treatment for some of these disorders could include addictive medications. More than a few psych patients have ended up in rehab after forming an addiction to their personality disorder medications. Back to the topic at hand.

If you have a personality disorder and addiction problem, the first task in treatment would be determining if there is a direct relationship between the two disorders. If there is, standard addiction treatment options would need to be set aside in favor of what the addiction treatment community refers to as dual diagnosis therapy. More on that in a moment.

Before discussing dual diagnosis therapy, it is important to point out that you might have co-occurring disorders and not realize it. You simply haven’t seen a psychologist and gotten the diagnosis. In such cases, it would be incumbent on your addiction treatment therapist to identify the problem. If they are able to do that, it would give them cause to change the approach of therapy. To what? The answer is dial diagnosis therapy.

How Can the Distress Caused by a Personality Disorder Exacerbate an Addiction?

When co-occurring disorders exist, it is imperative that the client get treatment for both disorders at the same time. Why? The lack of treatment for one of the disorders opens the door to the real possibility the untreated disorder will interfere with the entire treatment process. Here is why. The distress caused by a personality disorder is often troubling enough to prompt those who are suffering to turn to drugs or alcohol. They do so in order to cope with a world that doesn’t make sense to them. It is only when they are under the influence that they seem to be comfortable with their plight.

This ongoing cycle is why the addiction issue continues to grow. It continues to grow until the individual realizes they are in a vicious cycle and need a way out. That is where dual diagnosis comes into play. Since we know that clients need treatment for both disorders at the same time, there is a need for rehab facilities to have at least one staff member who is certified to treat both personality disorders and addiction issues. That is the optimum situation because the client only has to deal with one therapist.

If a rehab facility does not employ such a person, they might opt to maintain a psychologist on staff. The psychologist will treat the personality disorder while the addiction treatment professional deals with the addiction. The worst-case scenario would be that a rehab facility might have to outsource the psych treatment. That could end up requiring the client to go to another facility for their psych treatments. At the end of the day, the rehab facility has to implement dual diagnosis therapy no matter what it takes. Otherwise, the client will end up right back in treatment as they continue down the path of chronic relapses.

If you know or suspect your addiction is being prompted by a personality disorder, you need to get treatment right away. If not, both disorders could get worse. In our addiction treatment center, we have the ability to offer dual diagnosis therapy. What we need from you is the opportunity to do so. You can give us that opportunity by immediately calling someone at our facility, the number is 844-639-8371. During that call, we can discuss the facility, our treatment services, and how we can get you started on the road to recovery.

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