Personality Disorders and Addiction, Part One

substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NCThere are quite a few discoveries that directly link personality disorders to substance abuse. More than half of those that struggle with addiction also have a personality disorder of some sort. There are multiple types of these disorders.

Substance Abuse and Personality Disorders | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC

Over the course of the next several blog posts, we will talk in detail about the link between personality disorder and addiction, as well as what this disorder is and the different types found in society. If you or someone you know suffer from addiction be sure to contact our substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NC for help.

What is Personality Disorder? | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC

A quick look at personality disorder symptoms cause individuals to act in the following ways:

  • act on impulse
  • irrational
  • inability to effectivly cope with real life situations
  • inflexible
  • distressed life
  • ego-syntonic behavors
  • poor integrity

As you can already see, many of the these behavioral symptoms look familiar to those that are of an addict. Someone with a personality disorder has trouble acting in a normal behavior when it comes to society. Usually developed from a young age, these disorders can stem from extreme distress or disability throughout childhood and life, in general.

According to the, this type of disorder is "profoundly rooted in the person's ego integrity, which helps to explain why people with personality disorders often see nothing wrong or maladaptive about their behavior." The website also states that these people "tend to be self-centered and have severe deficits in empathy and futuristic thinking, people with personality disorders typically suffer severe depression and anxiety throughout their turbulent lives, which often leads to self-medicating these mental disorders with addictive substances."

Personality Disorder Types 

There are various disorder types. The DSM-V classifies 10 different disorders that are then grouped together in classifications know as:

  • Cluster A
  • Cluster B
  • Cluster C

Cluster A

Those with a cluster A disorder tend to be ery eccentric. They're also paranoid and odd. There are three different personality disorders that fall under this category:

  • Schizotypal
  • Schizoid
  • Paranoid

In some cases, the symptoms of these disorders might cause a need for placing an individual in a halfway or group home, or at least somewhere they'll have a structured environment without worry of disruptions that could cause an outburst in behavior. Those with Cluster A disorders can be treated with medication to help with hostility, paranoia and other disturbing symptoms that might affect daily life. Because it is believed that these symptoms occur due to a genetic issue or problem with the brain's neurotransmitters, medication is a productive source of treatment.

Cluster A Symptoms
  • Avoids social situations
  • Uncomfortable socializing in any way
  • Odd appearance such as mixed-matched clothing, strange hairstyle or unique odor.
  • Will have acquaintances but no close friends.
  • Have beliefs that aren't normal and have no link to reality or beliefs that are common.
  • Unimaginable suspicion of everyone, including those they spend the most time with.
  • Hypersensitive about beliefs
  • Hostile and argumentative when they feel provoked or defensive.

Cluster B

  • Narcissistic
  • Antisocial
  • Histrionic
  • Borderline

The four disorders found under the cluster B category are much more common than those of cluster A.

Cluster B Symptoms
  • unpredictable
  • selfish
  • irrational emotions
  • dramatic

According to, the following characteristics can be present in those that have a cluster B disorder:

  • Acting aggressively and belligerently for no reason
  • Persistent lying and violating the rights of others to get what they want
  • Lack of impulse control in regard to making rational decisions
  • Inability to take responsibility for the consequences of bad decisions and behaviors
  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Recurring run-ins with law enforcement
  • Intensely afraid of being alone or abandoned, although their behavior constantly pushes people away


Unfortunately, cluster Bs are much more difficult to treat with medication. Why? Those with cluster B personalities have developed their disorder ue to a result of things they've experienced in childhood. Whether it's social or environmental factors or how they were raised, the cluster B disorders are developed because of experiences. They have nothing to do with genetics or abnormal neurotransmitters in the brain, like cluster A.

Cluster C

personality disorders are characterized by fear, anxiety, panic and rigidity. They include the obsessive-compulsive, dependent and avoidant disorders that, like Cluster A personality disorders, are thought to be the result of the interaction between genetics and brain chemistry.

Cluster C Symptoms
  • fear
  • anxiety
  • panic
  • rigidity
  • obsessive

Characteristics of a cluster C person are listed below, according to

  • Excessively dependent on others; exhibit helpless, "clingy" behavior, especially around boyfriends/girlfriends and close family members
  • Preoccupied with maintaining control, orderliness, rules and "being perfect"; this is especially noticeable in people with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • Fearful, anxious thought patterns (Cluster C people may be erroneously diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder early in treatment)
  • Low self-esteem (feelings of inferiority and inadequacy compared to others)
  • Avoid meeting new people, doing new things or taking small risks; fear of embarrassment, disapproval or ridicule may develop into agoraphobia if left untreated
  • Overly sensitive to rejection, criticism or playful teasing

Personality Disorders and Addiction | Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Charlotte NC

As we mentioned previously, more than 50 percent of those who have a personality disorder are also suffering from addiction. These statistics are startling. But, in our next blog post, we are going to discuss why this might be the case and what can be done to help those suffering.

It's doubtful that drugs have caused a personality disorder, but almost always, the disorder causes the addiction. To learn more, be sure to visit back with our next blog post.

Substance Abuse Treatment Centers Charlotte NC

If you’re suffering from an addiction and need help, consider contacting our substance abuse treatment centers in Charlotte NC.  Addiction isn’t something that can be beaten easily. Often it requires extensive rehab and support. Legacy Freedom is here to offer both to you, when you’re ready. Addiction can leave you feeling sad, lonely, and angry. You are not alone. Legacy Freedom is here to help you get back on track to a happier, healthy, drug free life. Contact us to learn more.

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