5 years ago

Elevated rate of alcohol consumption in borderline personality disorder patients in daily life

Timothy J. Trull, Sean P. Lane, Thomas M. Piasecki, Phillip K. Wood, Constantine J. Trela, Ryan W. Carpenter



Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is highly associated with alcohol use disorder, but little is known about how BPD individuals consume alcohol or the immediate effects of their consumption. There is therefore a need for research investigating drinking behavior in BPD.


The current study examined rate of alcohol consumption in BPD (N = 54) and community individuals (COM; N = 59) within ecologically valid drinking episodes. We hypothesized that rate of consumption would be elevated in BPD individuals. We further hypothesized that rate of consumption would be positively associated with subjective stimulation, but not sedation, and that stimulation would be associated with increased positive affect (PA) and reduced negative affect (NA).


Ambulatory assessment was used to assess rate of consumption, subjective alcohol response, and affect in the moment (N observations = 3444). Rate of consumption was defined as change in estimated blood alcohol concentration (eBAC) relative to drinking episode start. Multilevel modeling was used to test hypotheses.


As hypothesized, BPD individuals demonstrated a faster increase in eBAC than COM individuals. Rate of consumption was associated with subjective stimulation, but not sedation, in both groups. Stimulation was associated with increased PA in both groups and reduced NA in the BPD group.


BPD individuals consumed alcohol more rapidly than COM individuals. Faster consumption may serve as a means for BPD individuals to maximize the rewarding pharmacological effects of alcohol and to increase positive and reduce negative affect.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00213-017-4727-1

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-017-4727-1

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