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Is BPD More Prevalent in Women or Men?

BPD, also known as borderline personality disorder, is a mental illness that is characterized by the inability to regulate emotion. An individual doesn’t have the coping mechanisms that are necessary to keep their emotions from going zero to one hundred.  But the symptoms don’t always look the same for everyone. Women can present different mental health symptoms from men who are dealing with the same disorder. So the real question is whether  women are more prevalent to suffer from BPD than men.

BPD Appears Different In Men Than In Women

This distinction first came about when more women than men were seeking help for their symptoms, which is generally true for medical illnesses in general. Even with that given, women with BPD tend to have problems with relationships and experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, while men with BPD tend to come across as more aggressive and violent, causing them to have troubles with the law. This is definitely something to take into account when assessing BPD in a loved one.

There Are More Similarities Than Differences

Although BPD can present in different ways between women and men, there are some commonalities that may further help with the diagnosing of BPD. Men and women with BPD may also be diagnosed with PTSD; for women, sexual abuse is a major driving factor.  This PTSD could also be the result of traumatic childhood events, abandonment, or growing up in a  hostile household.

So while women may tend to have internalizing symptoms and obsessive thought patterns, while men have more externalizing behaviors, both men and women may drink excessively or find other physical ways to deal with intense emotions that they can’t control.

Seeking Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

One of the more common treatment options for BPD is dialectical behavioral therapy. It aims to help people understand the learning skills needed to cope with their emotions when they get out of control. It is a variation of cognitive behavioral therapy, and teaches emotional regulation, mindfulness, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness. It has been shown to be particularly effective at helping women who also have co-occurring disorders, such as depression and substance abuse.

Lack Of Treatment

Studies have shown that those who don’t receive treatment for their borderline personality disorder tend to develop chronic health problems, both medical and mental. They are also more likely to remain in a perpetual cycle of unhealthy choices and harmful behavior that may get worse over time. That isn’t the kind of life that anyone should be living.

If you fear that you or someone who know may be dealing with borderline personality disorder, it’s important to get help sooner rather than later. It’s important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible, as the earlier there is intervention and treatment, the greater the chances a person has at living a happier, healthier life. Speak to your mental health professional to determine whether you have a diagnosis of BPD and what treatment plans may be available to you.