Borderline personality disorder is a highly stigmatized mental illness that is marked by emotional instability, unstable interpersonal relationships, undefined sense of identity, mood swings, self-damaging behavior, black & white thinking, impulsive behavior and a severe fear of abandonment. Sufferers of the illness are prone to self-harm and 10% of the people affected die of suicide. The disorder affects less than 2% of the world’s population, though that number would be much higher when considering all of the individuals who are not diagnosed. BPD occurs in females 3 times the frequency that the disorder occurs in males.
One of the most challenging symptoms of the disorder is emotional instability. For instance, a person with BPD can go from being loving and joyful to being hostile and angry due to an insignificant trigger that the average person would think nothing about. An example includes a BPD sufferer’s significant other getting home and failing to say “hello” to them. In the case of a person who doesn’t suffer from BPD, they would probably think nothing of it and proceed to conversing with their partner. However, in the case of a BPD sufferer, this in turn may cause the person to believe they are being slighted, which results in a fit of rage, followed by unfounded accusations of disrespect or lack of care.
Due to the fact that people with borderline personalities are easily triggered and easily upset, alcohol is the last thing that a person with BPD would want to consume. Everyone knows that alcohol clouds judgment. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant, causing a person’s emotional state to change with ease. Alcohol also lowers our inhibitions, causing us to feel more confident and less anxious about what we do and say. This is a combination of effects that would be a nightmare for anybody with BPD.
A person with BPD is already sensitive enough, but alcohol’s depressing effects cause BPD sufferers to become even more sensitive, which leads to a high frequency of unreasonable responses to the comments or actions of those around them. A more confident and less anxious BPD sufferer only means one thing; they have no reservations about speaking their mind, allowing them to spew hatred, grief, and suspicion. This causes those around them to perceive them as “crazy” and sometimes can be frightening to those who are not knowledgable about BPD.
After consideration of these facts about the relationship between alcohol and BPD, a person with the disorder may think drinking is okay as long as they do it alone. However, this is unfortunately not the case. As stated previously, alcohol is a depressant. When remembering that people with BPD are prone to self-harm, alcohol’s depressing effects can cause a BPD sufferer to become a danger to themselves, making self-harm a likely choice. For this reason, it is still best for people with BPD to refrain from drinking. This isn’t to say that a person with a borderline personality can never drink. However, it is imperative that BPD sufferers remember how the substance will effect them and they should try their best to keep alcohol consumption from becoming a habit.