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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and addiction are complex issues that can often be intertwined. It's important to understand that individuals struggling with BPD and addiction face unique challenges. BPD is characterized by intense mood swings, unstable relationships, and a distorted self-image. These emotional fluctuations can lead to impulsive behaviors, which may include substance abuse as a way to cope with emotional pain or regulate mood.

People with BPD may turn to substances like drugs or alcohol in an attempt to numb their emotional distress, escape from their intense feelings, or find temporary relief. This self-medicating behavior can provide a sense of temporary relief, but it often leads to a vicious cycle where the addiction exacerbates the emotional instability and impulsive behavior associated with BPD.

Therapy and support are crucial for individuals dealing with both BPD and addiction. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a commonly used approach that can help individuals with BPD learn coping skills and emotional regulation techniques. Treating the addiction aspect often involves a combination of therapy, counseling, and sometimes medication-assisted treatment.

It's essential to recognize the unique challenges and complexities that individuals with BPD and addiction face, and a compassionate and holistic approach to treatment is key in helping them on their path to recovery.

The diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has been a topic of controversy within the field of mental health for several reasons:


Some argue that labeling someone with BPD can lead to stigma and discrimination. People with this diagnosis have historically faced judgment and negative perceptions, which can hinder their access to treatment and support.

Overlapping Symptoms:

BPD shares symptoms with other mental health disorders, such as mood disorders and trauma-related conditions, which can make it challenging to diagnose accurately. The diagnostic criteria have evolved over time, and there's ongoing debate about the clarity and specificity of these criteria.


Diagnosing BPD can be subjective, relying on the clinician's interpretation of the patient's behavior and self-report. This subjectivity can lead to inconsistencies in diagnosis between different clinicians.


BPD can be misdiagnosed as other disorders, or individuals may receive the diagnosis when they do not actually have BPD. Misdiagnosis can lead to inappropriate treatment and additional distress.

Gender Bias:

Historically, BPD was disproportionately diagnosed in women, leading to concerns of gender bias in the diagnosis. Efforts have been made to address this bias and recognize that BPD can affect individuals of any gender.

Controversy over Terminology:

There has been debate over the terminology itself, with some professionals advocating for a shift from "Borderline Personality Disorder" to a less stigmatizing and more accurate name, such as "Emotion Dysregulation Disorder."

Co-Occurring Disorders:

BPD often co-occurs with other mental health issues, such as substance abuse, which can complicate diagnosis and treatment.

There have been revisions and updates to the diagnostic criteria and a growing understanding of BPD within the mental health community. The controversies surrounding BPD have spurred ongoing research and discussions aimed at improving the accuracy of diagnosis and providing more effective treatment for individuals who struggle with these challenges.

For a confidential assessment and support contact Nikki Edwards +27(66(223-4240 or

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