Addiction often presents itself in an individual’s life alongside another diagnosable disorder. This could be mental health disorders like anxiety, depression or bipolar or perhaps an eating disorder. One group of disorders that present themselves regularly with someone suffering from a substance use disorder is a class of mental disorders known as personality disorders.

Personality disorders are often characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition and inner experience, exhibited across many contexts and deviating from those accepted by the individual’s culture. Personality disorders are deeply ingrained ways of thinking and behaving that are inflexible and generally lead to impaired relationships with others. According to Psychology Today, “Mental health professionals formally recognize 10 disorders that fall into three clusters, although there is now known to be much overlap between the disorders, each of which exists on a spectrum.” The three different clusters are:

  • Cluster A: Odd or eccentric disorders, including paranoid personality disorder, as well as schizoid and schizotypal personalities


  • Cluster B: Dramatic or erratic disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder


  • Cluster C: Anxious or fearful disorders, including avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

An individual with a personality disorder typically clashes with their social environment and culture. Because their thinking, behaviors and interactions are often at odds with their surroundings and the people that they interact with regularly, individuals with personality disorders often have difficulty socializing, sustaining meaningful and lasting relationships, finding direction and purpose through careers or vocations and reacting appropriately in stressful situations.

Due to the nature of addiction, the feelings of isolation, loneliness and uniqueness that an individual suffering from substance use disorder experiences, addiction often works hand-in-hand with personality disorders. Although addiction does not cause a personality disorder, and vice versa, addiction features prominently in many personality disorders, as many people with personality disorders have high rates of addiction. Both addiction and personality disorders have deeply ingrained habits, attitudes, behaviors and beliefs and long-term treatment is needed change to change the patterns.

Addiction is a chronic illness that requires clinically-appropriate long-term care to address not simply the symptom of substance misuse, but also addresses core issues, underlying causes and conditions, attitudes, behaviors, belief systems, values, family dynamics, life skills, and social, academic and employment preparation. Addiction treatment also must adequately address co-occurring and dual diagnosis issues, such as personality disorders, through evidence-based clinical practices to make sure that a patient’s case is treated holistically, and that the patient is set up for their best chance of success through a sustainable recovery.

If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or dual diagnosis issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at Contact us today. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our website at

Personality Disorders and Addiction

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