Treating Personality Disorders at Alta Mira Recovery

The relationship between personality disorders and substance abuse is complex. Individuals with personality disorders may turn to substance use as a means of coping with overwhelming emotions, impulsivity, or social difficulties. For treatment to be effective, behaviors associated with personality disorders must be addressed and managed within the milieu setting.

Personality Disorders and Substance Abuse

Substance use can temporarily alleviate symptoms associated with personality disorders, providing a sense of relief or escape from distressing thoughts and feelings. As is the case with any symptoms people try to address by using substances, this coping mechanism is often maladaptive and can lead to a cycle of dependence, exacerbating the co-occurring issues that exist.

Those with personality disorders (or traits consistent with personality disorders) may be predisposed to substance use disorders based on:

  • Increased impulsivity
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • A sense of emptiness
  • The need for higher levels of stimulation
  • Control issues
  • Many other factors

Developing insight into these drivers, as well as how dysfunctional behaviors have not only not served the individual but have also negatively impacted others, are important aspects of treating personality disorders and the overall healing process for those with personality issues.

Personality Disorders and Trauma

Traumatic experiences, especially when these are developmental in nature (i.e., chronic or repeated injurious events from childhood onward), can trigger the development of personality issues and disorders. What ends up being dysfunctional personality characteristics have often developed to help the individual survive emotionally, psychologically, or physically unsafe environments or relationships but ultimately impede the ability to live as fully and effectively as possible.

Types of Personality Disorders

Our treatment approach is tailored to address the specific needs and challenges associated with different personality disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Individuals with BPD often struggle with unstable relationships, impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, and a fragile sense of self. Our treatment focuses on emotion regulation skills, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) which focuses on mindfulness techniques, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance within an environment that is sensitive to those with trauma histories to promote stability and resilience.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD): NPD is characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. Our therapeutic interventions aim to foster self-awareness, empathy development, and healthy interpersonal relationships through modalities such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and others.
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder (AVPD): AVPD is characterized by pervasive feelings of inadequacy, hypersensitivity to rejection, and social withdrawal. Our therapeutic interventions focus on building self-esteem, challenging negative beliefs, exposure therapy, and interpersonal skills training to help individuals overcome avoidance and engage more fully in life.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD): OCPD is characterized by a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control. We assist clients in gaining insight into what purpose these behaviors serve, what it “costs” the individual to engage in them, and providing exposure to challenging situations and issues that help individuals move toward flexibility and acceptance.

Why Choose Alta Mira Recovery?

  • Expert Staff: Our team of dedicated professionals includes experienced masters- and doctorate-level therapists certified in trauma, experiential therapies, expressive arts, CBT, and DBT. We are also proud to host a team of psychiatrists, an internal medicine doctor, round-the-clock nurses, and neuropsychological practitioners who are committed to providing the highest quality of care.
  • Three Individual Therapy Sessions Per Week: We recognize that every individual is unique, and we tailor our treatment plans to address the specific needs and goals of each person. Individual sessions focus on both in-depth work and the development of basic recovery tools and skills that are paced to match the needs of individual clients.
  • Coordination with Referring Partners, Care Providers, and Families: Referring providers (therapists, physicians, interventionists, etc.) and family members typically have important insight into a client’s strengths and challenges. Our team leverages every tool at our disposal to capture this vital information and crystallize it into supportive care from the onset of treatment.
  • Experiential therapies: We believe in treating the whole person, addressing not only the symptoms of the disorder but also underlying issues and promoting overall well-being. Experiential therapies at Alta Mira include expressive arts therapy, psychodrama and a wide range of outdoor activities as therapeutic tools that add variety and even fun to the treatment experience.
  • Soothing Environment: Located in a serene setting overlooking the San Francisco Bay, our residential facility provides a peaceful and supportive atmosphere conducive to healing and recovery.
  • Family Programming: Personality disorders can have a significant impact on family systems, and we support families through the entire treatment process. We offer a monthly 3-Day Family Program as well as therapeutic contact with family members when appropriate and desired.

At Alta Mira Recovery, we are here to help you and your loved one embark on a journey of healing, transformation, and lasting recovery from substance use and co-occurring personality disorders. Contact us today to learn more about our program and how we can support you on the path to a brighter future.