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How Borderline Personality Disorder Looks Between Genders

Borderline personality disorder is a common mental health disorder. Like many mental health disorders, there are disparities in the ways it is diagnosed between genders. While there are both biological and situational factors that play a role in the causes of this disorder, there still seems to be a gap in the number of men who get diagnosed with this disorder. Although the statistics say one thing, are there other reasons why more women seem to be diagnosed with BPD?

Continue reading to find out more.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that impacts the way a person thinks and feels about themself. It is characterized by extreme self-image issues, challenges with maintaining stable relationships, and difficulty managing emotions.

While it is unclear what the exact cause of BPD is, there are certain factors that seem to remain the same across the board. Some research suggests that BPD is linked to genetics, while others have shown that it is linked to brain abnormalities. Additionally, certain environmental factors like childhood abuse or neglect can be listed as probable causes.

Symptoms

Every case of borderline personality disorder is different. While the condition affects how a person feels about themselves, there are other signs and symptoms that are more subtle. These include the following.

  • An extreme fear of being abandoned.
  • A pattern of unstable relationships.
  • Impulsive and risky behaviors.
  • Mood swings that can last from a few hours to a few days.
  • Inability to manage emotions, which results in intense anger or physical violence.

The symptoms of borderline personality disorder usually appear in early adulthood. It is a condition that seems to have the worst effects in young adulthood, and it may get better with age. However, receiving therapy is one of the most effective ways to manage the symptoms of this condition.

Borderline Personality in Men vs. Women

Although the rates of borderline personality disorder are seemingly equal among men and women, it is more likely that a woman will receive a diagnosis. This can be attributed to several reasons.

Presentation

There has been a significant distinction between the way men and women present symptoms of BPD. Women who struggle with borderline personality disorder show signs of other conditions. These include eating disorders, PTSD, and anxiety and stress disorders.

On the contrary, men have been shown to have more explosive tendencies. Instead, they often struggle with substance use disorders, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial disorder. In fact, the conclusions of this study by the NIH state just that.

Although the presentation of symptoms varies between genders, it has been noted that there are still similar levels of emotional distress between the two genders. Because of this, both genders with borderline personality disorder had similar results when self-harming and suicidal behaviors were studied.

Socialization

Socialization plays an intricate role in the differences in diagnoses between genders. The simple fact is society has preconceived biases about how individuals of different genders should behave. For this reason, more “manly symptoms,” like explosive and intense behaviors from a woman, might be considered abnormal. While “feminine” symptoms from a man may yield the same reactions.

This bias in socialization can be one of the most significant contributors to the inability to diagnose and adequately treat borderline personality disorders in some instances.

Setting and Treatment

Of the many reasons why it may seem that more women have BPD than men, setting plays one of the largest roles. The symptoms that each person presents will influence the type of treatment they receive or if they receive treatment at all. These biases can lead to a lack of adequate treatment as well as potential sampling biases.

The symptoms that are more noticed in women, such as eating disorders and mental health disorders, will likely be addressed in a rehabilitation setting. On the other hand, aggressive and explosive tendencies that are more common in men will likely lead to a correctional setting. In these cases, the men are less likely to receive diagnoses and are treated for their behaviors and not their condition.

Answering the Big Question

So, do more women have borderline personality disorder, or is it more difficult to diagnose men?

The answer to that question is yes. It is more challenging to diagnose men. However, it is not as simple as one may think. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 75% of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are women. While men may be equally affected, there are several reasons that they are more commonly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

Here are a few theories about why this may be the case.

  • Men may be less likely to seek help than women. In the case of BPD, they will go undiagnosed if they do not seek treatment.
  • Men might be treated for the other conditions that they are showing signs of. Instead of being treated for borderline personality disorder, they are treated for only their substance abuse.
  • As mentioned previously, aggressive behaviors that remain untreated are more likely to lead to a correctional facility than a rehabilitation one. Men with BPD are more likely to end up in jail than to receive the treatment they need.
  • There is a possibility that the mental health professionals who are diagnosing and treating BPD in men are biased.

Find Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in Atlanta, GA

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, seek treatment at the Inner Voyage Recovery Center in Atlanta, GA. Our team of professionals is equipped with years of experience treating several mental health disorders and substance use disorders. We provide the best care for all of our patients and ensure that their needs are never ignored.

For the best borderline personality disorder therapy in Atlanta, GA, look no further than Inner Voyage Recovery Center. We are eager to help you address and manage your BPD. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you or to take a tour of our facility.

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