The effects of mental illness and its effect on the individual have finally become the number one priority in society’s eyes, with the startling reality that by the age of 24 75% of adults in this age range will have some kind of mental health problem.1 With this dark reality, there is one mental health disorder that is not given light, borderline personality disorder (BPD). This article will discuss: what BPD is, who it affects, and how this disorder affects the individual’s ability to form and maintain relationships. The main purpose of this article is to raise awareness for BPD, so if you do see these behavioural patterns in your loved ones, you should seek medical assistance.
What is BPD and who does it affect:
BPD is a mental disorder in which someone experiences unstable moods, emotions, issues with self-image, impulsive behaviour, substance abuse, and difficulties with their relationships. This disorder affects about 1-2%2 of the general population, some reports suggest that 75% of the people within this small percentage who are affected by this disorder are women,3 and this is the general societal concession. But is this actually true?
In a research paper conducted by Randy Sansone on the gender patterns in borderline personality disorder, he concluded that this 75% statistic was not accurate, he concluded that men and women are both equally likely to develop this disorder but there was a general bias against women; this is because the data sample that is used in most research makes women appear as if they are significantly at risk.4 This uneven expression and misconception could also be explained by cultural undertones or gender differences in behaviour. For example, Men with BPD are more likely to demonstrate an explosive temperament and develop a substance disorder, while women on the other hand are more likely to have mood swings and develop posttraumatic stress disorder. The behaviour difference between the two genders leads women to be more likely over-diagnosed and men under-diagnosed, which in turn negatively impacts the men who do have the disorder but can not get the treatment due to the misdiagnosis.
If you believe that you are in a romantic relationship with an individual who has BPD, this section deals with some of the symptoms that might pop up if they do have the disorder.
The first symptom is instability5. A person with BPD is often terrified that others will leave them. However, they can also shift suddenly to feeling smothered and fearful of intimacy which leads them to withdraw. The outcome is a continuous back and forth between demands for love or attention and sudden withdrawal or isolation The second symptom is abandonment. Due to the fear of abandonment a person with BPD will constantly look for signs that their partner may leave them, this can lead to them interpreting small acts or events as a sign of abandonment
In summary, borderline personality disorder is a very emotionally draining disorder that should be given more attention, especially to men because of how underdiagnosed. If you believe that someone you know has some of the symptoms of BPD you should seek medical assistance to make an informed decision that can benefit both you and the individual.