Can Alcohol Cause Personality Disorders?

There are a variety of contributing factors that can cause personality disorders, including genetics, childhood trauma, abuse, negative social relationships and environment. Alcohol can also cause or exacerbate personality disorders, most notably Cluster B personality disorders. In addition, the symptoms of personality disorders often mask the diagnosis of alcoholism or alcohol addiction.

Can Personality Disorders Mask Addiction and Mental Health Issues?

The symptoms of personality disorders can mask addiction and other mental health issues. Individuals with a personality disorder are extremely likely to have co-occurring addictions or mental health issues; however, with the severity of personality disorder symptoms, it can be difficult recognize when other issues are affecting an individual.

Many symptoms of personality disorders are shared with addiction and other mental health disorders, including the following:

  • Avoidance
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsive recklessness
  • Self-destructive behaviors
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Narcissism

These symptoms can be identified as characteristics of a personality disorder, but they may not be identified as the effects of a co-occurring addiction or mental health concern.

How Do You Recover from Addiction and Mental Health Issues?

Recovering from a co-occurring addiction and mental health issue causes more of a challenge than treating one disorder alone because of the complexities and intertwined relationship co-occurring disorders have. Recovering from one disorder is nearly impossible unless the other disorder is treated as well since each disorder plays a role in the existence and condition of the other. For example, a person diagnosed with a personality disorder may have developed an addiction to alcohol in an attempt to cope with the challenges and pain of living with a personality disorder. If this individual receives treatment for his or her addiction, but not the personality disorder, the individual is likely to fall back into the addiction because this is how he or she has always chosen to self-medicate the personality disorder before. Relapsing back into addiction is always a possibility, but the risk for relapse is high for individuals with untreated mental health issues.

To address the challenges of recovering from co-occurring disorders, recovery professionals use Dual Diagnose or integrated treatment, meaning they treat both issues simultaneously. Many different forms of treatment may be utilized during integrated treatment, and the forms of treatment will depend on the issues at hand, the state of the disorders, the individual’s health and addiction history and a variety of other factors. Integrated treatment follows a comprehensive treatment approach, where multiple forms of treatment are provided to address the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects of each issue. The goal of treatment is not just to end the addiction and provide a drug to manage a mental health issue. The goal of integrated treatment is to guide an individual to recovery and a better quality of life where there is limited interference from either disorder.

Treatment Options for Addiction and Mental Health Disorders

For help finding treatment and recovery services for co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders, call our toll-free helpline to speak with an addiction counselor. Addiction counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you learn more about your treatment options for addiction and mental health concerns. Whether you have questions and concerns or need information, an addiction counselor will be happy to help. If you’re ready, we can find and connect you to the treatment and recovery services that will work for you and your unique needs. To learn more about how we can help you achieve recovery, call and talk to an addiction counselor today; we’re ready to help.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email