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Borderline Personality Disorder (Emotion Regulation) and Alcoholism

Borderline Personality Disorder (Emotion Regulation) and Alcoholism

Alcohol is only a symptom of an underlying problem and most alcoholics never find out what their underlying problem is. It takes between 12 to 15 years to diagnose mental illness like Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder and by that time, the alcoholic is so firmly entrenched in their alcoholism, that they never get the chance to experience sobriety and get help for the underlying cause of their alcoholism.

The most common substance abuse among people with Borderline Personality Disorder is alcoholism followed by cocaine and opiates.  Ice is rapidly taking over and will soon be the second highest substance abuse after alcohol, especially in Australia.

There is evidence that people with both Borderline Personality Disorder and alcoholism have more difficulties in their lives and are less responsive to treatment than people who have only one of the disorders. Another name for Borderline Personality Disorder is Emotion Regulation Disorder and what is the main symptom of alcoholism?  Alcoholics can’t deal with their emotions.

People with alcoholism and Borderline Personality have more distress and suicidal thoughts and are more likely to engage in other addictive behaviours such as binge eating or gambling. That’s why alcoholics often turn to food for comfort when they try to stop drinking. Or they pick up another addiction like shopping, exercise, gambling, etc.

Why does alcoholism and BPD co-occur so frequently? Most likely, several factors account for the high rate of co-occurrence of alcohol use disorder and borderline personality. Some of the genes that put people at higher risk for BPD may also create higher risk for alcoholism.

There may be common environmental causes for alcoholism in Borderline people such as experiences of maltreatment in childhood. Physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse or neglect, have been linked to both BPD and alcoholism.

Borderline people use alcohol to self-medicate their raw emotions. Many alcoholics who have been sober for a long time are not aware they are suffering from a mental health issue and end up with more addictions like food to soothe their troubled soul.

People with BPD desperately want to have good relationships but they inadvertently sabotage their efforts to create and maintain positive relationships over and over again. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. You can take the alcohol out of the fruitcake but you still have the fruitcake.

Their desire for relationships is fuelled by an intense need to fill the bottomless hole that they feel inside themselves. People with BPD ache to fill this hole with a sense of who they are, a higher level of self-esteem, and high amounts of outside nurturing, unconditional love and adoration. However, no one can fill such a huge personal chasm. Partners and friends are defeated the moment they enter the relationship. Often people with BPD choose challenging relationships and get bored if the relationship is too easy. They are chronic malcontents and are never happy in the moment. Always looking to be somewhere else, with someone else and doing something else.

People with BPD and alcoholism (that hasn’t been treated) start out in relationships with enthusiasm, warmth and excitement. New partners may feel entirely enveloped by love and caring at the beginning of their relationships but ultimately, things go terribly wrong, especially when alcohol is introduced into the equation.

The greatest fear for an alcoholic suffering with BPD is fear of abandonment. Yet, at the same time, they don’t believe they are worthy of getting what they really want. They can hardly imagine that another person truly does love them. So when their partners inevitably fail to fulfil their every need, they believe the next step is abandonment. This conclusion fuels the BPD rage and, as a result, they push their partners away and head for the bottle to soothe their feelings of insecurity and overwhelming despair.

This series of reactions is extremely self-defeating but it’s born out of fear, not malice. Help is paramount for the BPD suffering with alcoholism and it often takes many years before the right help is determined.

Some researchers believe that dopamine dysfunction may be also involved in the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD) because of evidence that dopamine is involved in cognitive and emotional processing and the regulation of impulsive behaviours (which are related to BPD symptoms). In addition, antipsychotic medications that target dopamine receptors in the brain seem to reduce BPD symptoms. If you feel you relate to the above information, seek help immediately from your doctor and ask for a referral to a recognised mental health facility in your region.

In the interim, I recommend amino acids to help balance brain chemistry and a good liver tonic to help repair liver damage. Specific amino acids are essential for the liver to breakdown toxins and drugs and also for efficient metabolism in the liver.

l-Glutamine. This amino acid is required for phase two detoxification in the liver and is required in increased amounts by those who consume excessive alcohol. It is able to reduce the craving for alcohol.

l-Glutamine supplementation is helpful for intestinal disorders such as peptic ulcers and leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut is the term used to describe an inflamed condition of the lining of the bowel, which makes the bowel too permeable, so that toxins and incompletely digested food particles can be absorbed from the bowels directly into the liver. This increases the workload of the liver and may cause many health problems.

l-Glutamine is essential for the white cells to fight viruses such as hepatitis B and C. Glutamine is converted in the body into glutamic acid, which, along with the amino acids cysteine and glycine, is converted into the powerful liver protector glutathione. Glutathione is essential for liver phase two conjugation reactions used during detoxification of drugs and toxic chemicals.

LIVATONE Plus is a natural liver tonic containing the liver herbs St Mary’s Thistle, Globe Artichoke and Dandelion, combined with the amino acid Taurine, and Lecithin. It also contains natural sources of Chlorophyll, Carotenoids and fibre. It is available in both capsule and powder form.

The liver is the main fat burning organ in the body and regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism. A healthy liver will take fat in the form of cholesterol and pump it via the bile into the intestines where it will be carried away in the bowel actions provided the diet is high in fibre.

Tyrosine Pure Mood Food – Tyrosine is a natural amino acid – one of the building blocks of protein.  It is required for the manufacture of the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) dopamine and noradrenaline.  These neurotransmitters are required for concentration, alertness, memory and a happy, stable mood.

Magnesium – the great relaxant. Magnesium plays an essential role in maintaining and promoting efficient muscle function and nerve transmission. Magnesium is a vital mineral for hundreds of cellular enzymes involved in the body’s energy production and metabolism. It is required by the nervous system to regulate the function of nerves and muscles. Magnesium may also assist in the reduction of stress, nervous tension, anxiety and sleeplessness.

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.