Do Personality Disorders Influence Marijuana Addiction?

Do Personality Disorders Influence Marijuana Addiction?

Marijuana is the country’s leading drug of dependence according to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The survey claims 7 percent of people aged 12 and older are regular users, and more people abused marijuana in the past year than the next six drugs combined. In 2008, the German psychiatric journal Fortschritte der Neurologie Psychiatrie found that marijuana use is linked to borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and other personality disorders. However, the study could not determine if the drug actually initiated the personality shift. While marijuana may negatively affect mental health, personality disorders can ultimately motivate marijuana use as well.

Personality Disorder Types

Personality disorders are characterized by extreme behavior that breaks from consensus social norms. The disorders typically involve distorted views about oneself and others, and several types have been identified, including the following:

  • Borderline – Unstable emotions that are often turbulent and explosive
  • Antisocial – Pattern of manipulative, exploitative, and possibly criminal behavior
  • Obsessive-Compulsive – Anxious preoccupation with rules and orderliness
  • Avoidant – Extreme sense of inadequacy, shyness, and fear of rejection
  • Histrionic – Emotional and dramatic behavior designed to draw attention
  • Narcissistic – Overwhelming sense of self-importance and apathy for others
  • Paranoid – Consuming and baseless distrust and suspicion of others
  • Dependent – Overreliance on other people to fulfill emotional needs
  • Schizoid – Extended patterns of social isolation and indifference

Personality disorder symptoms may differ, but they can be debilitating and motivate the use of drugs, including marijuana.

Mental Health and Marijuana

A study of co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders in the 2006 Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment provides prevalence estimates on specific disorders, including the following:

  • 18 to 20 percent met the criteria for antisocial personality disorder.
  • 17 to 18 percent met the criteria for borderline personality disorder.
  • 24 to 27 percent had anxiety and/or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Borderline individuals may seek out marijuana to sedate turbulent emotions while antisocial individuals may embrace marijuana as overall deviant behavior. Other disorders can also influence marijuana use in various ways, including the following:

  • Avoidant or schizoid personalities may use marijuana to escape feelings of loneliness.
  • Narcissists may use several types of drugs believing they are powerless to hurt them.
  • Dependent individuals may smoke marijuana to reduce separation stress or support the caregiver’s use.
  • The obsessive-compulsive and paranoid may avoid marijuana because the drug typically produces anxiety.

In 2005, The American Journal of Psychiatry suggested that addiction and mental disorders may be different manifestations of related neurological abnormalities and that mentally ill individuals are often more susceptible to addiction. Marijuana use can either suppress or amplify mental disorder symptoms, but developing an addiction will definitely affect mental health and make the disorder worse.

Integrated Addiction Treatment

Rehabilitation centers can help with integrated addiction and mental health treatments by offer the following:

  • Detoxification in a comfortable environment with medical supervision
  • Holistic options to reduce withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and insomnia
  • Diagnosis and therapies for co-occurring mental health and personality disorders
  • Behavioral therapies to improve thought patterns and address drug-use triggers
  • Counseling for trauma, family conflict, anger issues, and emotional problems
  • Group therapy to discuss recovery strategizes and provide mutual support

Aftercare services are also set up locally to provide ongoing mental health and recovery support.

Free Helpline

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and mental illness, please call our toll-free helpline and speak with one of our admissions coordinators. We can answer questions about treatment plans, rehabilitation facilities, and financial aid. If you have health insurance, we can check the policy for benefits. Please call now.