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Co-Occurring Personality Disorders

Personality disorders often develop in the teen and early adult years, usually a time of difficult changes in one’s life. These events can mask the changes in one’s personality and, as a result, these disorders also often go undiagnosed. Individuals suffering from them know something is wrong; they just don’t know what it is, and many of them turn to drugs and alcohol for relief. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 23% of people struggling with a personality disorder also display signs of a substance use disorder. Drugs and alcohol further mask the underlying condition and send individuals deeper into isolation and depression. The dual diagnosis treatment program at Creative Care treats co-occurring personality disorders and substance use disorders holistically, healing these conditions at their roots. To learn more about our residential dual diagnosis program, call us today.

Common Questions About Co-Occurring Personality Disorders

Co-occurring personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions that alter the way an individual sees the world and affects their behavior accordingly. They are clustered into three types, based upon overarching patterns of behavior. Cluster A includes paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders and feature characteristics of paranoia or schizophrenia. Cluster B, including antisocial, histrionic, narcissistic, and borderline personality disorders, is characterized by dramatic or overly emotional behaviors. Finally, Cluster C presents anxiety or fear-driven behaviors and includes avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Symptoms of co-occurring personality disorder vary widely depending upon which cluster they belong to. A borderline personality disorder is one of the more common ones, and includes intense fears of abandonment or rejection, mood swings and extreme anger, impulsive and risky behavior, and unstable relationships. Meanwhile, narcissistic personality disorder features an over-inflated sense of self-worth and importance, feelings of entitlement, and an excessive need for validation and admiration.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, sometimes confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder, is characterized by a rigid worldview and attention to rules and details, perfectionism, and an inflexible sense of righteousness.

Like most mental health conditions, scientists believe co-occurring personality disorders to be the result of biology and environment. Those with a family history of personality disorders are at risk, as are those who grew up with an individual suffering from one. Traumatic or high stress experiences in childhood, like abuse, neglect, unstable family relationships, or substance abuse in the home, are also major risk factors.

The rigid and antagonistic perceptions and behaviors of personality disorders can make them difficult to treat, as can a co-occurring substance use disorder. It’s important individuals suffering from these conditions are treated with compassion and with proven methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, holistic relaxation techniques, and medication, when necessary.

Creative Care has over 30 years of experience helping individuals manage and overcome co-occurring substance use conditions like opioid use disorder. For compassionate, innovative treatment, call Creative Care today.