Borderline Personality Disorder,  Celebrities,  Medication,  Other Disorders,  Substance Abuse

Amy Winehouse, addiction and BPD from the NY Times

Before her death, I’d written about Amy Winehouse and my analysis of why she was very high on the BPD-o-meter. Here is an article from the NY Times about addiction that mentions both Amy Winehouse and Borderline Personality Disorder (but not as her having it). Here are some interesting quotes:

Clinicians have long been aware that patients with certain types of psychiatric illnesses — including mood, anxiety and personality disorders — are more likely to become addicts. According to the National Institute of Mental Health’s Epidemiologic Catchment Area Study, patients with mental health problems are nearly three times as likely to have an addictive disorder as those without.

Conversely, 60 percent of people with a substance abuse disorder also suffer from another form of mental illness. Still, it’s unclear whether addiction predisposes someone to mental illness, or vice versa.

Scientists do know that having a mental illness doesn’t just increase the chance of intermittent drug abuse; it also significantly raises the risk of outright dependence and addiction. The conventional wisdom is the link represents a form of “self-medication” — that is, people are using drugs long-term to medicate their own misery.

And of course, I can’t overlook this one:

Certain personality disorders also raise the odds of drug abuse and alcohol abuse. Narcissistic patients, who constantly battle feelings of inadequacy, are frequently drawn to stimulants, like cocaine, that provide a fleeting sense of power and self-confidence. People with borderline personality disorder, who struggle to control their impulses and anger, often resort to drugs and alcohol to soften their intolerable moods.

Maybe that is an interesting factor for understanding the difference between NPD and BPD. In my experience, those with BPD are usually drawn to benzos, alcohol, and opiates. In my poll about substance abuse over 75% of respondents said they have had problems with substance abuse. Because of the u-opioid study by Stanley and Siever (and others), it seem natural for borderlines to seek pain-squelching medications, illicit or not.

One Comment

  • jba

    Her own lyrics seem to back this up too. A verse in Rehab, where she tells of an earlier conversation with a therapist during a rehab session, draws a very clear connection between her addiction and her abandonment fears and anxiety.

    The man said “Why do you think you here?”
    I said “I got no idea…
    I’m gonna, I’m gonna lose my baby,
    so I always keep a bottle near.”
    He said “I just think you’re depressed.”
    this me: “Yeah, baby… and the rest.”

    If you watch the video, as she sings this verse she makes perfectly clear by her expression and the way she rolls her eyes how obvious and self-evident she feels this should be.

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