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Innov Clin Neurosci. 2011 Sep;8(9):10-3.

Substance use disorders and borderline personality: common bedfellows.

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  • 1Departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine, Wright State University School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio, USA.


According to the empirical literature, substance use disorders are commonly comorbid with a number of psychiatric disorders, including the personality disorders and especially borderline personality disorder. With regard to borderline personality disorder, eight studies of varying sample types (e.g., inpatient, outpatient, community) indicate prevalence rates of substance use disorders from 14 percent (current rate) to 72 percent (lifetime rate). As expected, lifetime prevalence rates of substance use disorders in borderline personality disorder exceed current and 12-month rates. In addition, in clinical samples, men with borderline personality disorder outnumber women with borderline personality disorder with regard to the presence of comorbid substance use disorders. According to the meager available literature, there is also a relationship between prescription substance abuse and borderline personality disorder. However, this relationship deviates from traditional findings with general substance abuse in that rates for women with borderline personality disorder equal rates for men with borderline personality disorder.


Alcohol; borderline personality; borderline personality disorder; drugs; substance abuse

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