People with BPD often struggle with substance use, as the symptoms of BPD can be overwhelming. They may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to help anxiety or other related symptoms. The impulsivity of BPD may also lead to drug use.

Article at a Glance:

  • Cocaine does not cause BPD
  • Drug use is common in people with BPD
  • Drug use with BPD can make treatment difficult
  • DBT can have positive outcomes for BPD and cocaine use 

Can Cocaine Cause Borderline Personality Disorder?

The cause of BPD is unknown. Genetic, social and family factors could play a role. It is not thought that cocaine causes BPD, but drug use is common in people with BPD. This is why some people may think it causes the disorder. 

Between 18% and 34% of people in cocaine treatment also have co-occurring BPD. People living with BPD may find that drug use seems to make them feel better. 

Does Cocaine Affect Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms?

For some people with BPD, a stimulant drug may mask shame or helplessness, since they cause euphoria. However, cocaine can also raise anxiety, which may cause panic or fear. Hostile behavior or rage can also occur with cocaine use.

Cocaine can affect and often make BPD symptoms worse. 

Since cocaine is illegal and unregulated, unknown substances in the drug can cause negative effects. It is best to avoid drugs and to get BPD treatment in a medical setting.

Treating Cocaine Addiction and Comorbid Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is difficult to treat, even without an addiction. People with BPD have high therapy dropout rates. They can be more impulsive, which can make recovery more complicated.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is effective for treating BPD. This uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) along with mindfulness to help control impulses, improve tolerance for stress and regulate emotions.

One version of DBT treats co-occurring borderline personality and substance use disorders (DBT-SUD). Group therapy helps people learn skills to prevent further cocaine use. Research has found that DBT-SUD has led to improved outcomes for both disorders.

More on BPD

People with BPD may have mood swings, changes in behavior and become impulse, which can lead to problems. People with BPD may experience intense anger, depression and anxiety. This can continue for hours or days. Their opinions on people or situations may change rapidly. 

Almost 6% of people in the U.S. have BPD at some point in life. It affects men and women at equal rates.

Roughly 73% of people with BPD have a substance use disorder at some point.

The Recovery Village offers treatment for both cocaine addiction and borderline personality disorder. Our facilities serve communities from Florida to Washington, specializing in a range of addiction recovery services. Connect with our team today to learn more.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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