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Author Topic: DIFFERENCES|COMORBIDITY: Borderline PD and Alcohol Dependence  (Read 37773 times)
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« on: June 17, 2009, 10:02:48 AM »

has anyone heard of a link between fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and personality disorders in particular BPD? i know the majority of those with fas/fae also experience metal heath issues...just wondering if there is a possible link there.


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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 06:36:33 PM »

Hi. I dont know if alcohol does, but... I took diazepam or something like that (low doses) when pregnant, because I couldnt sleep and I was extremely anxious. Without medical supervision  (beleive it or not, it was an over-the-counter medicine until more or less 10 years ago in my country).  When my son was BPD son was born, I think he had some kind of abstinence reaction. He used to sleep a lot, wake up crying like crazy, and then eat, and eat, and eat, and nothing seem to satisfy his hunger... until his little stomach was too full and it all came out...

I found this article, some months ago, seems so real... read my coments in capital letters:

Unwanted pregnancies may precipitate a borderline character-formation in unborn children. For example, if a mother has other children close in age or the pregnancy occurred too close to the birth of another child, the mother may wish that this unborn baby did not exist. She may submit to having the baby, but in her heart she feels guilty for her thoughts of disavowal. ( THIS HAPPENED TO ME...THE GUILTY FEELINGS MADE ME BE TOO CLOSE TO HIM)  Her own borderline guilt and pretense creates a borderline pregnancy process, which leaves the baby with intense cravings for the mother's body and nourishment.

Sometimes babies of borderline mothers are born with a ravenous hunger for breast milk along with a tenacious need to cling to the mother's body  ( MY SON WAS LIKE THIS). In time this hunger becomes an intense, insatiable need that eventually becomes transferred to love objects in adult life. Because of feelings of nonexistence and threat to one's survival, the borderline clings tenaciously to adult relationships based on intense early need and oral demands. When these relationships threaten to break down, the borderline regresses to an infantile, near-psychotic state. Buried emotional pain gets reactivated along with primitive regressive defenses.

In a relationship it is common for the unwanted inner infant of the borderline to feel deeply attracted to bonding and identifying with the hurt, unloved inner child of another person  (MY SON USED TO WORK WITH HANDICAPPED CHILDREN TWO YEARS AGO. HE LOVED TO AND SAID IT CALMED HIM DOWN. ). These people may actually form love relationships based on the empty, unloved inner infant. Attempting to turn the partner into some aspect of one's own unintegrated, disallowed inner parent marks the beginning of borderline upheaval and intensity.
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 10:47:11 PM »

DIFFERENCES|COMORBIDITY: Overview of Comorbidity

Additional discussions...

Personality Disorders

Borderline and Paranoid Personality Disorder

Borderline and Schzoid/Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Borderline and Antisocial Personality Disorder

Borderline and Histrionic Personality Disorder

Borderline and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Borderline and Avoidant Personality Disorder

Borderline and Dependent Personality Disorder

Borderline and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

Borderline and Depressive Personality Disorder

Borderline and Passive Aggressive Personality Disorder

Borderline and Sadistic Personality Disorder

Borderline and Self Defeating Personality Disorder


Borderline PD and Alcohol Dependence

Borderline PD and Aspergers

Borderline PD and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Borderline PD and BiPolar Disorder

Borderline PD and Dissociative Identity Disorder

Borderline PD and P.T.S.D.

Borderline PD and Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)
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« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2009, 02:43:53 AM »

This is interesting, I hadn't heard of this connection or even thought of it.  I kind of assumed BPD came about from something environmental AFTER birth rather than before, I don't know why.  But now that I think about it, my BP partner is the product of an alcoholic mother, so not only was there the neglect and downright abuse as an infant and young child before entering foster care at 2, I'm sure her mother did not stop drinking during her unwanted pregnancy with regard to the health of her 8th child, the product of an affair.   None of her 7 siblings are notably BPs, but then again, I don't know them that well so it is possible.   Maybe it's the combination of fetal alcohol syndrome and childhood abuse, or maybe something else altogether, but so much I've read seems to substantiate the association between childhood abuse and mental illness later in life.   There is no reason to think that ingested substances during the formation of the fetus could not also play a significant role, though. 

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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2009, 10:25:48 AM »

It's an interesting subject...

Are there really two questions?

Is the child of a mother who used alcohol heavily during her pregnancy, more likely to develop BPD?

I would think the incidence of emotional neglect would be greater, and so there would be a greater incidence that in a more healthy family environment. Many BPD children have a BPD parent and substance abuse is a characteristic of many with BPD, so the likelihood of FAS would be greater in these families.

Has any link been shown between people who are diagnosed with BPD and fetal alcohol syndrome?

According to Michael J. Formica, LCT, "FAS is a biological deficit, fundamentally an induced birth defect, that has its own set of behavioral outcomes. BPD is a learned set of responses laid upon the bedrock of depression and anxiety.  One might draw connections between the coincidence of the two, but drawing a straight line might be a bit of a stretch."


In this study, the authors attempted to characterize the type and frequency of mental illness in adults with fetal alcohol syndrome or fetal alcohol effects. Only 1 person in the study appeared to develop borderline personality disorder (see footnote on the table or the study text) but they did not test out as BPD using the SCID-II.

I believe, FAS and BPD have some common symptoms too... one being impulsive behavior... not considering the affects of actions before taking them.  I think I may have read that some therapists are finding DBT to be helpful for FAS clients.

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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2010, 12:00:30 PM »

one of the dx criteria for borderline is:

4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating

so.. id say its pretty common wink

my partner is a recovering drug addict.. at least 3 of his friends in recovery.. also are dxBPD..

really.. cant deal w/mental health issues.. when the drugs and stuff are in the way.. he had to get clean.. to be able to deal w/mental health issues.. bc otherwise theres too much stuff in the way..

Randi Kreger
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2010, 09:15:40 AM »

The comorbidity rate is about 30%. People look at it in two terms: % of people with BPD substance abuse and % of people with substance abuse who have BPD. You can find exact stats somewhere on BPDDemystified.com or NEABPD.org. Although it probably doesn't matter because it's YOUR BP.WHen someone is abusing, it is very difficult to separate BPD from the SA. I don't even try. Treating the SA is job one, before treating BPD.Randi KregerThe Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2010, 04:15:21 AM »

I ask this question because my d16 T reckons she cannot be BPD if she isnt addited to drink or drugs or doesnt self harm.She last self hrmed to my knowledge several years ago,although I know that she has sucidial thoughts.

I just wondered if any of you know if BPD can be diagnosed without this element.She displays all the other criteria.

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future" ~ Paul Boese
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2010, 07:51:22 AM »

A pwBPD does not have to be addicted to drugs/alcohol (but will usually have an addicitive "something" if it's not a substance - shopping, spending money, sex, food, etc.);

A pwBPD does not necessarily self-harm or threaten/attempt suicide, although many do have this trait.

For example, my BPD-NPD MIL spends like there is no tomorrow - that's her "addiction" - but she doesn't drink, nor has she ever done any drugs (illicit or prescription); and I think because she has NPD, she "loves herself too much" to kill herself or even threaten to kill herself, so that's something her family hasn't had to deal with - but I see that as a trade off with the NPD stuff they do have to deal with.
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010, 11:51:38 PM »

Hi edenblu,

I'm sorry that you're struggling with your d16.  xoxox

As others have suggested, a diagnosis of BPD can be made when five of nine diagnostic criteria are present, as described in this article Borderline Personality Disorder, A Clinical Perspective.

Personality disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, someone must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

The DSM criteria note that people with BPD have a pattern of unstable relationships, self-image and mood, as well as impulsive behavior. These typically begin in early adulthood.

For BPD to be diagnosed, at least five of the following signs and symptoms must be present:

* Intense fears of abandonment

* A pattern of unstable relationships

* Unstable self-image

* Impulsive and self-destructive behaviors

* Suicidal behavior or self-injury

* Wide mood swings

* Chronic feelings of emptiness

* Inappropriate anger

* Periods of paranoia and loss of contact with reality

A diagnosis of BPD is usually made in adults, not children or adolescents. That's because what appear to be signs and symptoms of BPD may go away with maturity.

Many therapists and other clinicians don't especially "like" the BPD diagnosis and will avoid it. Others, as the quote above suggest, shy away from diagnosis of a person under 18. There is also a stereotype of a BPD sufferer as someone who self-harms and has substance abuse issues, so your daughter's therapist may be influenced by that, though the spectrum of sufferers is actually much wider. Other members have certainly experienced a reluctance to look at a BPD diagnosis. You're not alone.

Workshop - BPD: What is it? How can I tell?

Why won't most therapists give a diagnosis of BPD?

I hope that helps.


What they call you is one thing.
What you answer to is something else. ~ Lucille Clifton
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