Anti-Anxiety medication are often used to treat the intense anxiety and agitation that come with Borderline Personality Disorder.
Because it’s so, so, so commonly prescribed for anxiety, which is a huge contributor with BPD. I’m not a doctor or psychiatrist (obviously) so I would never tell you to take or not to take any medication that you’ve been prescribed, but I think it’s also important to be as aware of all information out there. My Psychiatrist won’t prescribe Xanax to me right now, and I’m starting to see why. When I was taking Xanax I was prescribed it by my general physician who wasn’t aware of my BPD, not my Psychiatrist. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that general practitioners of medicine aren’t aware of all the intricacies of how some medications can combine with mental health issues. That’s probably why Psychiatry is its own field, yanno? So be sure to make sure all your doctors are in the loop with what is going on. One may be a brain specialist, the other a body specialist, but it’s all important to consider when treating you as a whole.
Antianxiety Agents and Sedatives
“Anxiety and poor sleep are common symptoms of borderline disorder. In other disorders, the benzodiazepines are most frequently used for these symptoms. These include diazipam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), temazepam (Restoril), flurazepam (Dalmane), and triazolam (Halcion). These medications should be used with caution in patients with borderline disorder because of their high addictive potential and a reported capacity to increase impulsive behavior in patients with the disorder.
Some patients with borderline disorder also experience adverse responses, such as impaired perceptions and greater sleep deterioration, to the non-benzodiazepine sedatives. Therefore, if these medications are prescribed for you, be aware of this possible problem.  ”
Two of the main problems I’ve seen repeated in terms of Xanax use and BPD are Decreased Inhibitions and Depressed Mood.
“Xanax is a type of medication that works by decreasing abnormal signals within the brain that cause excitement. Use of Xanax can cause you to experience decreased inhibitions, which can lead you to engage in dangerous, unusual risk-taking behavior. You can also experience the absence of fear---even if you are in a dangerous situation---while taking this medication. Such side effects can result in abnormal behavior that may have negative consequences, such as injury or increased debt.”
“While taking Xanax, you can become depressed experiencing feelings of abnormally sad, guilt-ridden or worthless. You may also notice that you are no longer interested in participating in your usual activities or that you are more tired than usual. Xanax can also cause patients to experience dangerous thoughts of suicide or self-harm. Contact your doctor immediately if you become depressed or suicidal while receiving treatment with Xanax. ”
With an increased potential for depressed mood and decreased inhibitions, this can quickly escalate to impulsive and dangerous behavior. Even increase the risk for self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
Even Wikipedia states that particular care should be exercised with the case of people with Borderline personality disorder because it may induce suicidality and dyscontrol. By the way, Dyscontrol (or Episodic Dyscontrol syndrome) is defined as a pattern of abnormal, episodic, and frequently violent and uncontrollable social behavior in the absence of significant provocation. I don’t think I need to tell you that combining something that may lead to uncontrollable social behavior without provocation combined with someone that already has problems with controlling volatile emotions, reactions, and behavior is a very, very bad thing.
I was taking Xanax when I was still living with Evil-Ex and while I was dating Boring-Ex. I think things were so disruptive from when I was dealing with Evil-Ex (which was still while I was dating Boring-Ex) that it was probably necessary for me to have something for the intense, intense anxiety I was dealing with, but who knows if it contributed to my cutting or landing me in the Psych ER. Then again, I never took them very frequently. I’ve always been very aware of the addictive and deleterious nature of these kinds of medications so I’ve always been very wary of taking too much of them.
For occasional, situational use, they may be helpful, because for me they certainly did help calm down my brain and ease my anxiety in those moments when I was about to lose it. But long term, daily, regimented use…. ???? …. I don’t know. That’s not my call. But the dangers of addiction and the horror stories of withdrawal are also not something I would ever want to be faced with.
Other issues reported Hyperactivity, seizures, hallucinating, and jaundice.
I’m also including a video I recently found. It’s only a couple years old so I’m fairly confident that the information is still relevant. It’s also doesn’t seem judgemental which is nice. The first bit talks about Xanax and its effects with BPD, but then it also moves on to consider other drugs as well. Below the video you can see some of my notes and the things that caught my attention.
“Daily use of modest dosing of Xanax lead to increased self-mutilation and suicide attempts in Borderline Patients.”
“Xanax, like alcohol, is a feel good drug in the moment but over a longer period of time, like alcohol, it disinhibited them and Borderline people are already disinhibited, so taking a drug that contributes to that and all hell can break loose.”
Occasional, targeted use, that’s probably okay, but chronic use? Not so much.
:: Interesting note:: People with Borderline Personality Disorder of some of those most likely to refuse to take a drug if it has significant side effects.
Avoid Benzos except for occasional use.
On discussion of SSRI’s there are two types of depression:
1. The classic type of Major Depressive Disorder, but also,
2. that Characterological Depression of emptiness and dysphoria that is often reported with BPD.
SSRI’s may help the major depressive disorder type symptoms but don’t touch the characterological depression. *** This strikes a chord with me. *** Note to self to look into this further, b/c currently I feel like my major depression is practically non-existent, but I still have that feeling of emptiness.
Medications may not “cure” Borderline Personality Disorder, but they can target specific symptoms that make focusing on psychotherapy easier and functioning in day to day life, better. They may not fix it completely, but they may help raise the standard of day to day living so that we can get the rest of the way on our own.
This is essentially what I’ve found with the SNRI I’m on. My primary focus was helping my anxiety and depression
There was one last note on “Experimental “”Drug”” Study” that I thought was worth mentioning:
Omega-3 fatty acids. A regular daily dose over an 8 week period of time showed a significant difference in reducing aggression and depression… with no side effects. I mention this, b/c it’s a good recommendation for pretty much everyone in terms of general health and heart care. Even I try to make sure I take my Omega vitamins (as I’m strict vegetarian and need the supplemental support).
So there are some things to think about.