The Tie Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Teen Substance Abuse

Borderline personality is a disorder which significantly affects a teen’s ability to function normally within society.  Characteristics of borderline personality disorder include rapid and intense fluctuations in mood that last between minutes and hours, impulsive reckless behavior, and highly unstable relationships with other people.  Teens with this disorder also have high rates of related disorders including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

Substance abuse in teens with borderline personality disorder is more prevalent in males, but may affect females.  It is unknown why there is such a high rate of substance abuse in teens with borderline personality disorder, although researchers have suggested that it may be a combination of chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom combined with a high level of impulsivity.

An individual’s life with borderline personality disorder can be tenuous and difficult. This is often due to lack of understanding both by him or herself to what is happening and a lack of understanding on the part of parents, friends, and society in general. This lack of understanding is often accompanies by criticism from the family and the community.  The addition of substance abuse frequently causes the teen to be further rejected by peers, family members, and important members of the teen’s community.

The treatment of the underlying disorder is often the best way to approach the treatment of substance abuse. While there are many different approaches to the treatment of borderline personality disorder, it is clear that the substance abuse issue cannot be treated without also treating the underlying borderline personality disorder.