Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed personality disorders, affecting about 1.4% of the general population. According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it’s considered a Cluster B personality disorder, along with narcissistic, antisocial, and histrionic personality disorders. 

Cluster B disorders are characterized by hypersensitivity to rejection and unstable interpersonal relationships, behavior, and self-image. They can cause extreme emotional distress and overly dramatic or unpredictable behavior, making it difficult to maintain relationships or function in daily life. Most people aren’t diagnosed with borderline personality disorder until adulthood. Mental health experts may hesitate to diagnose children or adolescents in case symptoms disappear as they grow older.

Although diagnosis rates are significantly more common for women, research by the National Alliance on Mental Illness suggests men are equally affected by the disorder but commonly misdiagnosed with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Being misdiagnosed or living with untreated borderline personality disorder can have serious adverse effects on a person’s mental health, resulting in self-harming behaviors. 

Like with many mental health conditions, people with a borderline personality disorder may turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. Research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that over 50% of individuals with BPD struggle with substance abuse. Co-occurring disorders can already be difficult to treat due to symptom overlap, but BPD presents some unique challenges.

Drug and alcohol use can exacerbate certain BPD symptoms, such as impulsivity and self-harm risks, making the disorder even harder to treat. Many BPD patients also drop out of mental health treatment, which can prolong the process of getting better. Despite these difficulties, professional borderline personality disorder treatment can be effective and help people lead fulfilling lives. 

The best way to overcome co-occurring disorders is to treat mental health disorders and substance use disorders simultaneously. Ranch Creek Recovery offers several options for borderline personality disorder addiction treatment that can help you gain healthier coping skills and overcome substance abuse issues. If you or a loved one is struggling with intrusive mental health symptoms, learn more about BPD treatment and how it can help you take control of your life. 

“Ranch Creek Recovery saved my life. I came into RCR lost and broken, trying to get back on track in my life. As a result of this great team of counselors/psychologists, I’ve done more than restore my life; I’ve reached new goals and gained so many life skills that go far beyond just being sober. I love and appreciate all the staff. Know that if you have a willing heart to change, you’re in the right place.”

– Joshua

Get Help with Insurance Coverage

Our alcohol rehab program accepts several national insurance plans and is in-network with most carriers including HealthNet, MHN, Anthem BlueCross, Aetna, Cigna as well as others. To verify if your insurance is accepted and check your out-of-pocket costs call Ranch Creek Recovery at (877) 997-8931.

Anthem BlueCross Insurance Logo
Aetna Insurance Logo
Health Net Insurance Logo
MHN Insurance Logo

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

A borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts how a person thinks or feels about themselves and others. You may find it difficult to manage your emotions and behaviors, resulting in a pattern of unstable relationships, poor self-image, and an intense fear of being alone or abandoned. Frequent mood swings can also lead to risky or impulsive behaviors, such as reckless driving, unsafe sex, or substance abuse. 

Despite finding it difficult to be alone, many people with BPD experience impulsivity and frequent mood swings that may push their loved ones away. This can be extremely damaging as many people with BPD want loving and stable relationships. BPD can also negatively impact other areas of a person’s life, resulting in issues such as:

  • Repeated job loss
  • Legal issues, such as an arrest or jail time
  • Involvement in abusive relationships
  • Unplanned pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Suicide attempts

It’s also common for those with BPD to struggle with other mental health issues, including:

  • Mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Other personality disorders

While the causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t fully understood, a few factors can increase a person’s risk of developing the condition. Environmental factors like childhood abuse or neglect have been linked to BPD. Some twin and family studies suggest personality disorders can be inherited. Another theory is that abnormalities or changes in some regions of the brain responsible for emotion regulation, aggression, and impulsivity may cause BPD. 

person with Borderline Personality Disorder

Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD patients experience frequent mood swings that can cause a great sense of insecurity and instability. They often experience a distorted sense of reality and struggle with understanding themselves and their place in the world. Several symptoms of BPD can affect a person’s thoughts and behavior, including:

  • Unstable relationship patterns that fluctuate between idealizing someone and believing they don’t care or are cruel, which is sometimes referred to as splitting
  • Rapid changes in self-perception or self-identity, resulting in shifting moods, goals, opinions, and values
  • Impulsive and self-destructive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, including drug abuse, gambling, excessive spending, binge eating, and suddenly quitting a job
  • Frantic efforts or extreme measures to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • Self-harm behaviors, such as self-injury by cutting or burning and suicidal ideation or attempts
  • Periods of intense irritability, anxiety, or depressed mood lasting for several hours or days
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate or uncontrollable anger that leads to physical fighting or being bitter and sarcastic
  • Loss of contact with reality or periods of stress-related paranoia that can cause psychotic episodes in severe cases
  • Being skeptical of others’ intentions

The Complex Relationship Between Addiction and BPD 

Having any kind of mental health condition can increase your risk of developing a substance use disorder. This is referred to as a dual diagnosis. Since self-harming behavior is a core feature of borderline personality disorder, people may turn to substances to find relief from their fluctuating and distressing emotional states. 

Research by SAMHSA reports that 62% of respondents diagnosed with BPD also met the criteria for a substance use disorder. Prescription drug use is particularly common, with nearly 50% of BPD respondents reporting a history of abuse. Other common drugs people with BPD may turn to include stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine, cannabis products, and alcohol. 

These drugs create a high that can bring relief and serve as an escape from BPD symptoms. However, this relief is only temporary. After the drug’s effects wear off and a person realizes their life hasn’t actually changed, they may feel worse and experience more intense feelings of emptiness and disconnection. This can lead to a dangerous cycle of using substances to escape these emotions, only to acquire more self-destructive habits that cause further mental health issues, such as addiction. 

People with BPD are already at an elevated risk of attempting suicide or hurting themselves, and substance abuse only increases that risk. As an individual becomes more addicted, they may experience more difficulty regulating emotions, which can worsen their already unstable self-image and lack of concern for safety. 

Personalized Treatment for Personality Disorder and Addiction

It can be hard to diagnose and treat borderline personality disorder because many symptoms overlap with other mental health conditions, particularly ADHD and bipolar disorder. Additionally, the impulsive nature of BPD may cause patients to resist or leave treatment, which can be even more challenging when addiction is also a factor. 

At Ranch Creek Recovery, our team of therapists and medical professionals is specifically trained in borderline personality disorder treatment. We offer several personalized treatment services to help you overcome addiction and learn healthier coping skills. 


Medical detox is the process of ridding your body and mind of toxic substances and is often the first step in the addiction recovery process. At many treatment centers, detox is monitored by medical professionals to ensure your safety and health. Medications may be prescribed to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce drug cravings. 

You’ll also participate in individual or family therapy sessions to work through any negative feelings or emotions you experience to prepare for the next stage of the healing process. The length of detox depends on many factors, including the type of drug taken and how long it’s been abused.

Residential Program

Our residential treatment center can help you improve all areas of your life impacted by addiction and mental illness. A residential program involves living at a facility full-time while undergoing addiction and BPD treatment in a structured environment. Upon admission, our treatment team will conduct an in-depth evaluation to determine the severity of your addiction, whether you have a co-occurring mental health disorder, and what services will be most beneficial.

During residential treatment, you’ll have access to various evidence-based treatments, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and therapies such as individual therapy and family therapy. Our treatment center also uses a holistic approach and offers several experiential therapies to help you heal physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. 

Outpatient Rehab

Outpatient rehab is a less intensive treatment option for those who can’t commit to a full-time residential program. Our outpatient program meets three times per week for a few hours each day. You have access to the same benefits offered in a residential program but with the flexibility to maintain a job and keep in touch with family. 

Group therapy is also a key component of our outpatient program and allows you to meet people struggling with similar issues. Outpatient rehab is ideal for those who’ve already attended inpatient treatment and wish to continue their recovery journey. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of talk therapy focused on changing a person’s behavior by modifying their thought patterns. For those with BPD, it can be difficult to manage negative thoughts, especially during distressing situations. CBT can help you respond to these negative thoughts in a healthier manner and learn how to regulate your emotions better. 

To be effective, CBT relies on active participation from the patient and therapist. When this is achieved, CBT is widely successful in helping people identify distorted thought patterns and modify their beliefs to build healthier relationships with themselves and others.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a common treatment for borderline personality disorder. It was specifically designed to help people with self-harming behaviors, including self-injury, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. DBT is organized into four stages: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. 

The goal of DBT is to help you create a fulfilling life so you’re less likely to turn to harmful habits. Several methods are used to help you achieve this, including individual therapy sessions, life skills training, homework assignments, phone coaching, and team consultations. DBT also pairs well with other substance abuse treatments. 

Holistic Treatment

Holistic treatment addresses substance use disorders in the body, mind, and spirit. It focuses on using experiential therapies to help you gain greater self-awareness and self-acceptance. Types of experiential therapies we offer include:

Holistic therapies effectively treat co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders by helping patients learn to manage stress better and build healthier lifestyles. 

Ranch Creek Recovery for BPD and Addiction Treatment

Transform Your Life: Reach Out to Ranch Creek Recovery for BPD and Addiction Treatment

At Ranch Creek Recovery in Murrieta, CA, we believe in a personalized approach to addiction and borderline personality disorder treatment that doesn’t conform to a one-size-fits-all 12-step program. Our combination of holistic and evidence-based therapies can help you reduce stressful mental health symptoms and improve your overall physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. 

All services take place in our serene, luxurious treatment center, where you’ll receive an individualized treatment plan that’s routinely updated based on your progress. We also offer a high staff-to-client ratio, allowing you to work one-on-one with counselors, therapists, and other medical professionals to successfully uncover the root cause of your addiction and how mental health contributes to it. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and BPD symptoms, it may be time to consider dual diagnosis treatment. Our team of compassionate counselors is standing by to help you take the first step toward recovery. Call us today at (877) 997-8931 or fill out our online contact form for more information.