Borderline personality disorder and meth use commonly occur together. Learn how you can treat both conditions together.

Article at a Glance:

Some points to remember are:

  • People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often develop an addiction
  • Meth use can worsen BPD
  • Treating BPD and meth addiction is possible

BPD & Meth

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a disorder that affects emotions, impulse control and relationships. When it occurs with other disorders, it can impact symptoms and treatment.

A survey found that people with BPD are likely to have an addiction in their lifetime. Other studies found that about half of the people with BPD have an addiction.

Methamphetamine, or meth, is addictive and affects the central nervous system. Meth addiction can be impacted by having conditions like BPD.  A recent study found that 35.5% of patients hospitalized for meth psychosis had BPD.

Can Meth Cause Borderline Personality Disorder?

It is unknown if meth can cause BPD, but meth can cause brain damage. Meth use can warp the brain and damage nerves. Studies show that meth kills brain cells and can damage dopamine and serotonin nerve groups.

Damage to those nerve groups can reduce impulse control, attention span, memory and motor control. Some of these issues also characterize BPD and hint that meth use may lead to it.

Alternatively, the side effects of BPD may increase the risk and severity of meth use. Scientists found an area of the brain is smaller in people with BPD. This same area is thought to be involved in meth dependence.

Does Meth Affect BPD Symptoms?

BPD symptoms can be:

  • Mood changes
  • Extreme emotional reactions
  • Dangerous behavior
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Feeling empty
  • Poor sense of self

Substances that impact emotions and decision making can worsen BPD. The high from meth use appeals to people with BPD. The high can relieve the effects of BPD. However, meth causes an excess release of chemicals in the brain that can damage nerve groups.

Similar effects are linked with BPD symptoms. Meth use can boost the risk of severe BPD issues, like suicidal ideas. Treatment for meth addiction is key in keeping people with BPD safe.

Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and Meth Addiction

Treatment for BPD and meth addiction is complex. BPD therapy helps people balance emotions and impulses. Meth addiction treatment involves detox and therapy.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is one of the best therapies for BPD with co-occurring substance use disorders. DBT helps people with BPD to be more aware of emotions and how to control them. DBT works to improve:

  • Emotional responses
  • Impulse control
  • Relationships

A special form of DBT (DBT-SUD) was made specifically for addiction. The principles of DBT-SUD work to treat both types of disorders.

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Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Candace Crowley, PhD
Dr. Candace Crowley received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and her Ph.D. in Immunology from UC Davis, where her thesis focused on immune modulation in childhood asthma. Read more

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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.