There are several reasons that trigger substance abuse among individuals. It may not always be the factor of curiosity alone that leads one towards substance abuse. It can be social and personal factors as well that can compel you towards finding relief in the effects rendered by illicit substances. A majority of the illicit substance addicts are found suffering from mental health and personality disorders. This coexistence is known as dual diagnosis, dual disorder or co-occurring disorders.

The victims of substance abuse often remain in the dark about their mental health problem until they are actually examined by an expert. It is then revealed that it was their mental health disorder that coerced them towards the destructive habit of substance or alcohol abuse.

A stable personality is crucial for a person who wants to lead a satisfying and productive life. Personality disorders lead to contradictory thoughts, behaviors, and interactions which can cause a negative impact on the life of victim. With the presence of substance abuse, the consequences and impacts are ultimately aggravated. There are various types of these disorders that can coexist with substance abuse. However, before we delve into the types, it is imperative to know a little more about the disorders.

What Is a Personality Disorder?

dual diagnosisPersonality disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, is defined as a long-term pattern of inner experience and behavior that swerves evidently from the cultural framework in which the individual resides. This behavior is invasive and inflexible. It commonly begins at the age of adolescence or early adulthood, and becomes permanent over time, leading the victim to consistent distress or impairment.

A personality disorder affects the manner in which you perceive yourself and others around you. This perceiving usually is in the context that severely obscures your ability to function in your life and changes the way you think, feel and behave.

Having one of these disorders makes it difficult for you to cope well with stress and compels you to find relief in drugs and alcohol. It hinders your ability to endure the routine pressure and makes you unable to handle the everyday tasks. You might as well begin to blame others for your faults and hardships.

Creating and maintaining relationships become difficult when you are suffering from a personality disorder as you keep switching moods and exhibit behavior patterns that may not be as acceptable by others. Hence, this often results in fights, tension, and rifts in the relationship, and eventually crippling apart.

Types of Personality Disorders Coexisting with Substance Abuse

There are three categories of personality disorder that further entail subtypes of the disorder which may coexist with substance abuse. These categories and subtypes are briefly explained underneath:

‘Cluster A’ Disorder

The first cluster of disorder consists of:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder

Paranoid disorder, as the name suggests, entails people who have a paranoia of other people causing them harm. They fear that people around them have ulterior and harmful motives. They display a pattern of distrust and suspiciousness.

Schizoid disorder compels the person to detach from the social relationships and confine their emotional expressions to a certain range. Under such condition, they are unable to feel pleasure and demonstrate limited social skills.

Schizotypal disorder coerces the person to display odd behaviors, appearance, and feelings. They often show acute discomfort in close relationships.

‘Cluster B’ Disorder

The second cluster of disorder entails:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

An antisocial personality disorder is also known as a sociopathic disorder. It entails symptoms such as being impassive about the wellbeing of others, lying, indulging in illegal acts, being aggressive and engaging in violent behavior.

Borderline disorder comprises of risk behavior, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and problems in maintaining healthy relationships.

Histrionic disorder compels the person to divert attention towards them and need the consistent approval of people.

Narcissistic people are occupied by self-superiority and fantasies of power. They need consistent praises for their achievements.

‘Cluster C’ Disorder

This particular group of disorder constitutes of mental health conditions that are associated with anxiety and fear. It includes:

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

People with avoidant disorder shy away from social situations and remain shy during social interactions. This is mainly because of their low self-esteem, thinking that they aren’t good enough.

Dependent disorder compels the person to rely too much on others and they tend to cling to others for support and attention. People with dependent disorder demonstrate the submissive behavior.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder demands the person to accentuate high degree perfectionism in all actions and behavior.

How Does Coexistence of a Personality Disorder with Substance Abuse Impact Your Life?

While a personality disorder is a mental disease, when it gets combined with drug abuse, it casts a tremendous negative impact on your life, wellbeing, and relationships.

When you are juggling substance abuse with a co-occuring disorder, maintaining healthy and meaningful relationships becomes really difficult. You have little control over your behavior and this may not go well with others and they are only going to keep up for some time. This can also make it hard for you to socialize and might as well subject you to stigmatization.

Having one of these above disorders, along with addictive behavior, makes it hard to find and maintain jobs and deal with stressful situations. This troublesome combination might as well lead you down the road of depression where you can incur self-abhorrent thoughts and suicidal actions.

While personality disorder alone is difficult to treat, co-occurrence with alcohol and drug abuse makes the recovery further challenging and difficult. The recovery may be challenging and difficult, but not impossible. We believe care, compassion, and determination can overcome all sorts of addiction and disorders.

At Arizona Addiction Recovery Center, we offer optimum level of care to our clients who are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders. We have been able to achieve exponential success in treating substance abuse victims with personality disorders. Contact us today or visit our rehab center to get an in-depth overview of how we work and what benefits you can avail from our service.

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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Arizona Addiction Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 888.512.1705.

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