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Medically Reviewed

Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction in South Carolina

- 6 sections

Medically Verified: June 13, 2024

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that has many contributing factors. You are more likely to develop an addiction if your family has a history of substance abuse, you experienced childhood trauma, or were exposed to substances at a young age. Another factor that plays a role in substance abuse is untreated mental health conditions.

When you have a mental health condition and an addiction at the same time, this is known as having co-occurring disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 21.5 million adults struggle with co-occurring disorders.[1]

While any mental health condition can co-occur with addiction, some mental illnesses are more commonly associated with substance abuse. For example, borderline personality disorder (BPD) often leads to self-medication through drugs and alcohol. When you have both BPD and addiction, you need to receive treatment for both conditions at once.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The symptoms of borderline personality disorder
  • How BPD and substance use disorder are connected
  • How borderline personality disorder and substance abuse are treated

What are the Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that affects your ability to manage your emotions. If you have BPD, it is common to have intense emotions, poor self-esteem, unstable relationships with others, and experience impulsive behaviors. Since impulsivity is a common symptom of BPD, you are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol if you have BPD compared to someone who does not.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the symptoms of borderline personality disorder include:[2]

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • Patterns of unstable and intense relationships that include idealization and devaluation of others
  • An unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity in at least 2 areas of life (i.e. binge eating, reckless sex, substance abuse, or spending)
  • Recurring suicidal behavior or self-harm
  • Instability because of frequently shifting moods
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate or intense anger and having a hard time controlling one’s anger
  • Stress-related paranoia or severe dissociation symptoms

To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, you must experience at least five of the nine symptoms. It is common for BPD to develop after experiencing childhood trauma. People with BPD often engage in self-destructive behaviors, experience codependency, and have issues with emotional regulation.

How are BPD and Addiction Connected?

BPD causes intense emotions that are difficult to cope with. Coupled with a predisposition to impulsivity, using substances to cope with these emotions is common among people with BPD. Individuals often find themselves self-medicating their symptoms and developing an addiction.

BPD and addiction are heavily linked. Studies have found that 78% of people with borderline personality disorder develop an addiction or substance use disorder.[3]

If you have both BPD and addiction, you must receive treatment for both conditions at once. Effective treatment involves a combination of medical detox, evidence-based therapies, and relapse prevention planning.

How is Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction Treated in South Carolina?

Struggling with BPD and co-occurring substance use disorder is never easy. These conditions tend to exacerbate the symptoms of one another, making recovery complicated. Additionally, people with BPD tend to experience stigma, even from some mental health care professionals.[4]

Thankfully, dual-diagnosis rehab centers like South Carolina Addiction Treatment Center are experienced in treating co-occurring BPD and addiction. We approach treatment with a compassionate outlook, making you feel comfortable opening up about your needs and goals.

Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

Treating borderline personality disorder is vital, as it helps improve symptoms, daily functioning, and overall quality of life. While many mental health conditions are managed with medications, treatment for BPD mainly involves talk therapy and behavioral therapy.

The main types of therapy used to manage BPD are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). These techniques help you learn to regulate your emotions, reduce harmful behaviors, and foster healthy relationships with others.

DBT, in particular, was developed specifically for the treatment of BPD. It emphasizes skills training in four key areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Through these skills, individuals with BPD can learn to cope with intense emotions, manage interpersonal conflicts more effectively, and develop a stronger sense of self.

Additionally, therapy may also involve addressing past traumas or underlying issues that contribute to BPD symptoms.

Treatment for Substance Use Disorder

Your treatment for your addiction will occur at the same time as therapy for BPD. First, you will undergo medical detox to alleviate the physical dependency caused by drugs or alcohol. Oftentimes, medications are used to lessen withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

In addition to medical detox, treatment for addiction involves:

  • Individual therapy to overcome the root causes of substance abuse and tackle underlying trauma
  • Group counseling to develop healthy coping mechanisms and communication skills
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to reduce cravings and prevent relapse
  • Psychoeducational support groups to inform you about the disease of addiction and how it works
  • Relapse prevention planning to arm you with the tools and support you need to maintain recovery

When you are receiving care for co-occurring addiction and BPD, it is best to do so under the supervision of an inpatient rehab center.

Find Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and Addiction in South Carolina

If you or a loved one suffers from comorbid addiction and BPD, it’s time to seek help. At South Carolina Addiction Treatment, we use an evidence-based approach to dual diagnosis recovery.

South Carolina Addiction Treatment is a state-licensed and CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited substance abuse treatment facility. We are a dual-diagnosis facility with a primary focus on substance abuse. We offer individualized, extended-term treatment in an intimate setting located in Greenville / Simpsonville, SC. 

Contact us today to start your recovery journey.


  1. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions
  2. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Diagnosing borderline personality disorder
  3. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Borderline Personality Disorder and Comorbid Addiction
  4. The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Borderline personality disorder, stigma, and treatment implications