Is Self-Sabotage a Mental Illness?

Mental health professionals have long recognized borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a debilitating condition that affects all aspects of a person's life. It is associated with a range of self-destructive or self-sabotaging behaviors, and a recent study has found statistical correlations between a greater number of endorsements in the measure of medical self-sabotage and each of the three measures of BPD. This suggests that medical self-sabotage is a characteristic behavior of those suffering from BPD. The prevalence rate of medical self-sabotage behaviors among hospitalized psychiatric patients is 63%, which means it should be taken into consideration as an additional diagnostic element in the DSM.

Self-sabotage can manifest in many ways, such as sabotaging relationships, jobs, and other aspects of life. People may not even be aware that they are doing it, as it can be an unconscious response to feeling like they don't deserve anything good in their life. A thought disorder, also known as disorganized thinking, can affect how someone expresses their thoughts. According to Joseph, self-sabotage occurs when people do certain things that were adaptive in one context but are no longer necessary.

Self-sabotage can take many forms, such as procrastination, self-medication with drugs or alcohol, comfort eating, and forms of self-harm like cutting. It is important to talk about mental health and recognize when these behaviors are becoming problematic and interfering with long-term goals. People who have struggled with depression and anxiety for many years may be particularly prone to self-sabotage. Refusing to seek help, self-medicating, and denying the illness can all lead to a deeper hole that is difficult to get out of.