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Author Topic: Can substance abuse be confused for BPD?  (Read 237 times)
Stephen19

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« on: March 17, 2014, 01:49:15 AM »

My ex has abused cocaine, alcohol and prescription meds for the better part of 10 years. I got back together with her because she told me she wasn't like that anymore but she was into it again. The events that occured over the last year brought her to be hospitalized for a bit where she was diagnosed BPD.

Can the effects of long term substance abuse be confused for BPD? I read they can have similar symptoms but she also has had a really bad childhood, sexual abuse self harms and threatens suicide. There was a point in my life where I considered her my stalker and she's extremely jealous.

Where is the line between the 2? Thanks
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Surnia
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 07:06:05 AM »

Hi Stephen

Its very difficult to draw a line between mental illness and drug abuse.
Substance abuse is one of the criterias for BPD, like self harming and threatening suicide as well. Seems that in your ex all this came together.

I would tend to trust the officials in the hospital. What is for sure - drug abuse makes it worse regarding treatment.  cry
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maxen
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 07:26:42 AM »

hi stephen.

as surnia said, substance abuse is one of the criteria for BPD, but is only one. (my wife, whom i'm divorcing, is an alcohol abuser.) the substance abuse can make addressing the other borderline traits more difficult (says my psychiatrist), but it is a diagnostic for BPD and i'd agree with surnia also that the doctors probably have it right. we, of course, have lots of resources here about BPD, please do have a read around the site.
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Stephen19

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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 10:23:23 PM »

Thanks

I was pretty sure that would be the answer. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just latching on to her diagnosis as a way to cope for myself. I never saw her as bad as I did last year and I've known her 13 years. She was almost more in control of herself when she was high.

That being said, her stint in a mental health unit, the suicide attempt which left her with scars all over her thigh and wrist and 6 weeks in rehab seem to have made an impression on her. She is now vegan and getting exercise, as well as staying sober. I wonder if this will be enough to stabilize her and if a 6 week program is enough to keep her sober after a decade long habit.

She does not seem to accept her diagnosis and blames it all on me. We are not together now and I'm trying to focus on me but I keep wondering if she will finally get well.
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maxen
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2014, 01:33:59 PM »

Sometimes I wonder if I'm just latching on to her diagnosis as a way to cope for myself.

this is an insightful observation. it's a thing i've wondered about myself and i'd wager lots of other posters have too.

however, don't discount the diagnosis. if she really does have BPD, and doesn't accept that and won't go into long therapy for herself (because it is possible to ameliorate the behaviors that way), she will be incapable of a genuinely interpersonal emotional life and there would be little you, or anyone, could do. for example,

She does not seem to accept her diagnosis and blames it all on me

is very characteristic of BPD and in any case is a bad sign. it's hard to let go when you've been made "responsible" but it's right for you to focus on yourself.
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O God come to my assistance/O Lord make haste to help me. (Ps 69)
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