How Are Borderline Intellectual Functioning And Addiction Linked?

Addiction can affect anyone from any background, but some people may be more susceptible to this chronic condition than others. People with borderline intellectual functioning can be more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. To learn more about borderline intellectual functioning and addiction, reach out today.

If you or someone you know struggles with substance misuse, contact the professionals at Promises Right Step at 17135283709. Our addiction treatment programs are customized to meet your individual needs to provide you with the best chance of lasting recovery.

What Is Borderline Intellectual Functioning?

Borderline intellectual functioning, or BIF, is a term used to describe people whose cognitive abilities fall below average but not low enough for them to be classified as having an intellectual disability. People with BIF typically have IQ scores ranging from 71 to 84. IQ scores below 71 qualify as intellectual disability, while those ranging from 85 to 115 are classified as average intellectual ability.

People with borderline intellectual functioning may experience various challenges in their daily life, such as:

  • Difficulty learning
  • Poor attention span
  • Difficulty communicating clearly with others and navigating social situations
  • Struggles with decision-making
  • Inability to understand and follow complex instructions
  • Inability to manage their finances on their own

BIF can make it difficult, if not impossible, for a person to achieve independence and thrive as an adult in their personal and professional life.

How Are Borderline Intellectual Functioning and Addiction Linked?

There is an obvious connection between borderline intellectual functioning and one’s susceptibility to developing an addiction. Individuals with BIF may be more likely to engage in risky behaviors like excessive drinking due to:

  • Impulsivity
  • Poor judgment
  • Difficulty controlling their behavior

Additionally, people with BIF are more likely to experience social disadvantages that are common underlying factors in substance abuse, such as:

  • Poverty
  • Discrimination
  • Trauma
  • Limited access to resources

All these factors can make everyday life more stressful, and without the support they need to enjoy a reasonable quality of life despite their disadvantages, individuals with BIF run a greater risk of turning to drugs or alcohol as a means of coping.

Get Help for Borderline Intellectual Functioning and Addiction

Understanding the link between borderline intellectual functioning and addiction is essential because leaving addiction untreated can lead to severe consequences, such as job loss, health problems, financial instability, legal issues, and even fatality. Helping people with BIF manage their addiction requires a multidisciplinary approach that includes:


First and foremost, awareness about the increased risk of addiction can help those with BIF make more informed decisions and realize the importance of getting professional help. A key component of overcoming addiction and maintaining recovery will involve learning how to recognize and address cravings and triggers for substance misuse.


The challenges associated with borderline intellectual functioning can be difficult to manage on your own. But with the help of a therapist, you can learn how to identify and restructure negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to addiction. You can also learn healthier coping mechanisms, problem-solving skills, and decision-making abilities. Individual and group therapy both provide a supportive environment where people with BIF can feel safe expressing their feelings without fear of judgment.


If a person with BIF is dependent on alcohol or opioids, the most beneficial treatment may be medication-assisted treatment or MAT. This involves the use of medications like buprenorphine, Suboxone, naltrexone, and methadone to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.


Borderline intellectual functioning can make daily life more difficult; however, with a strong support network from friends, family, and peers in recovery, you will receive the encouragement and support you need to stay motivated and on track with your recovery goals.

Call Promises Right Step for Help Overcoming Addiction

Borderline intellectual functioning can make you more vulnerable to addiction, but you do not have to give up on your dreams of a sober future. Call Promises Right Step at 17135283709 or contact us online to get started on your path to recovery.

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