What are personality disorders in addiction?
Personality disorders are patterns of behavior and coping mechanisms that lead to chronic problems and maladjustment to life. Personality disorders are resistant to change. Personality disorders keep a person from finding a wide variety of coping strategies. People with personality disorders are usually unaware of any problem with their behavior and will use projection and blaming in a defensive way in order to not look at themselves and to avoid introspection.
It is in this way that those people with an addiction are very similar to those with a personality disorder. Personality disorders in addiction are quite common the difference is that the change in personality that is caused by an addiction will slowly gets better with recovery from drugs and alcohol. When addiction and a personality disorder are both present in a person, finding a lifestyle of recovery and growth can be extremely hard.
So what are the common personality disorders in addiction?
- The most common personality disorder in addiction is probably antisocial personality disorder. People with an antisocial personality disorder have a hard time learning from painful experiences and tend to take risks. Someone with an antisocial personality disorder will have trouble relating to other people and their relationships are shallow and exploitive. People with this disorder, very often will become involved with criminal or abusive behaviors.
- Another common personality disorder in addiction is paranoid, schizoid, or schizotypal personality disorder. The symptoms of this personality disorder resemble symptoms of schizophrenia. People with this common personality disorder in addiction have trouble with socializing and with their self-esteem.
- Other common personality disorders are narcissistic, dependent, histrionic and compulsive personality disorders. These personality disorders in addiction have various neurotic traits that can lead to problematic interpersonal functioning and difficulties with jobs and academic achievement.
- Borderline personality disorder is very common in addiction. Borderline personality disorder is a complex disorder that resembles other severe mental health issues. Borderline personality disorders in addiction can lead to instability in relationships, poor stress tolerance, self-destructive behavior, severe anxiety, periods of depression, and brief episodes of psychosis. A history of sexual abuse and trauma is closely linked and common in people with this disorder. People with a borderline personality disorder and addiction have trouble with the concept of themselves and also struggle with everyday coping. They are very sensitive to rejection and abandonment. Borderline personality disorder types in addiction respond to emotional threats by putting their negative feelings on others or by making the world black and white; all good or all bad. This can make those with this personality disorder seem manipulative and emotionally destructive.
It is common for those with an addiction to have symptoms of one or more personality disorder and to slowly get better the further they get into their recovery. For those whose personality disorder was apparent before the addiction they may need a dual diagnosis treatment to make sure they can achieve the same level of success as someone without a personality disorder in their recovery.