Because of their strong need for comfort, people with dependent personality disorder may be vulnerable to drug or alcohol dependence.

Some people may occasionally fantasize about a hero rescuing them or taking away their troubles and stresses, but individuals with dependent personality disorder desire to be saved or protected on a near-constant basis. Support is often sought out through people, alcohol and drugs. Because of their strong need for comfort, people with dependent personality disorder may be vulnerable to drug or alcohol dependence.

Drug Abuse as a Hindrance to Dependent Personality Disorder Treatment

Some individuals with dependent personality disorder may use alcohol or drugs to manage their symptoms. The abuse of prescription medications is also common among people with dependent personality disorder. Prescription medications are often slow acting, taking up to two weeks to see desired symptom changes. When an individual isn’t getting the results they desire, overuse can become an issue.

Non-prescription medication and alcohol use can hinder treatment for dependent personality disorder because the treatment focuses on addressing underlying conditions, which may be anxiety and depression. Although marijuana and alcohol may provide temporary relief from the symptoms of these disorders, these substances can have other potentially negative side effects, especially when used by individuals with dependent personality disorder.

The positive feeling people obtain from the high could lead to use on a regular basis to escape the symptoms of dependent personality disorder. For a successful recovery, treatment for substance abuse needs to be a priority.

Effects of Substance Abuse on Dependent Personality Disorder Symptoms

It can be difficult for people with dependent personality disorder to complete drug or alcohol treatment without first managing their personality disorder. If their underlying depression or anxiety are not treated, the individual may still struggle with many of the symptoms of dependent personality disorder and use drugs or alcohol to cope.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse research states that addiction or drug abuse can have negative impacts on mental function, psychological well-being and physical health. Substance abuse can exaggerate the symptoms of dependent personality disorder, making it more difficult to live with the condition.  

Dependent Personality Disorder and Alcohol

Personality disorders and alcoholism often go hand-in-hand. While the use of alcohol can allow people with paranoid personality disorder to find temporary relief from some symptoms, they can quickly become dependent on it.  

Environmental factors can partially explain the high prevalence of co-occurring dependent personality disorder and alcohol abuse. Some environmental influences linked to alcoholism and dependent personality disorder may include traumatic events in childhood, such as physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect.

Individuals with dependent personality disorder might begin using alcohol to reduce the intense emotional experiences that trademark the disorder. Casual use of alcohol for short-lived self-medication may lead to dependence.

Dependent Personality Disorder and Marijuana

An individual with dependent personality disorder may use marijuana to calm their mind when they feel anxious or worried or help prepare for a social situation.

However, when the high is gone, the symptoms may return. Because is the relief of symptoms is only temporary, the individual may begin to use marijuana more often until it becomes a daily routine.

Dependent Personality Disorder and Stimulants

In some cases, stimulants are prescribed to help treat address some of the underlying conditions that drive dependent personality disorder. In other cases, people may use them illegally. In the short term, stimulants increase of alertness and energy, which can alleviate some of the symptoms of the condition.

However, when used excessively or over an extended period, stimulants can be addictive and may lead to feelings of aggression or paranoia, which may already be present in individuals with dependent personality disorder. High doses can also result in dangerously high body temperatures and an irregular heartbeat, which may stimulate the anxiety already present.

Statistics on Dependent Personality Disorder and Drug Abuse

About 2.5 percent of the general population has dependent personality disorder and about 14 percent of all individuals have a personality disorder. In a study completed by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, they discovered that around eight percent of substance abuse patients had a dependent personality disorder. However, the occurrence of alcohol use among dependent personality disorder patients is around 80 percent. Approximately 11 percent of people diagnosed with dependent personality disorder use marijuana.

Drug Abuse as a Cause of Dependent Personality Disorder

Drugs and alcohol do not cause dependent personality disorder, even though individuals with the disorder have high rates of substance abuse. These individuals may behave rashly, make impulsive decisions and have personal or relationship problems related to their drug or alcohol use. People with dependent personality disorder may use alcohol or drugs to escape their fears of abandonment or to numb feelings of worthlessness and incompetence.

If you are or a loved one needs help or assistance in treatment, The Recovery Village can help. People who struggle with co-occurring addiction and dependent personality disorder symptoms can receive help from one of our many facilities located throughout the country. If you or a loved one is ready to get started, call The Recovery Village to speak with a representative today.

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Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Krisi Herron, LCDC
Krisi Herron is an Adjunct Psychology Professor, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and a freelance writer who contributes to several mental health blogs. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.