Borderline personality disorder in men (BPD) is generally considered a woman’s disorder, but this is, in fact, a false conception. Both men and women suffer from borderline personality disorder due to a variety of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors.
However, while it is as common among women as it is in men, this doesn’t mean that the disorder manifests with the same symptoms in both sexes. There are key differences in how the disorder manifests in men and the way that men with borderline personality are treated.
Borderline personality disorder typically manifests in the form of identity issues and fears of abandonment. Patients with borderline personality disorder do everything they can to connect with other people and avoid having the people in their lives leave them. A man with borderline personality disorder may change his identity to match that of his partner or of someone he strongly admires. For example, if his spouse is a chef he may decide to take up the profession himself as a way of conforming to her.
On the other hand, aggression is also commonly found in men with borderline personality disorder and can express itself as jealousy or efforts to control partners by means of fear or criticism. Men with borderline personality have a tendency towards “thin skinned” reactions to anything they believe threatens their sense of power.
Many patients with borderline personality disorder see the world in black and white. Their binary perceptions of events or situations mean that they tend to see things as either true or false, on or off, right or wrong. This symptom can lead to patients becoming quite distressed when something does not go exactly the way they expect it to and may lead to feelings of anxiety or stress.
In many cases, men with borderline personality disorder may resort to harming themselves or otherwise acting in a way in which they damage themselves intentionally. The symptoms of borderline personality disorder are rarely exactly the same in each patient. The various causes of borderline personality disorder result in different levels of different symptoms.
Borderline personality disorder is caused by a variety of hereditary factors combined with environmental factors. Current evidence suggests that dopamine receptors play a key role in symptoms of borderline personality disorder and its outcome. There are also many observable differences between the brains of patients with borderline personality disorder and the general population. Males with borderline personality disorder tend to have noticeably smaller amygdalas, a portion of the brain which deals with fears and primal emotions, with greater activity than most people.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands, regulates cortisol and other stress hormones in the body. People with borderline personality disorder have markedly higher levels of this hormone and it appears that dysfunction of this axis creates many of the most distressing issues patients experience.
Borderline personality disorder in men tends to correlate with other mental illnesses as well. Men with borderline personalities have a tendency to react more aggressively to criticism and to take insults to their ego with grave seriousness.
Depression, anxiety disorder, and other issues are frequently seen in men with borderline personality disorder, but they are often not diagnosed because medical professionals may believe that these symptoms are simply normal aspects of male life.
The treatment of men with borderline personality disorder tends to focus on finding ways to help men cope with the disorder and reduce the severity of the symptoms. All too often, a man with borderline personality disorder finds himself alone without any way to handle the constant slights he believes he is experiencing.
Therapists often help their male patients by helping them understand that they don’t need to hold onto so much insecurity. Instead, they can simply accept that they aren’t perfect or able to solve everything on their own. Another key focus for men with borderline personality disorder is developing better strategies for handling relationships. Instead of criticizing or attacking their partners, therapists will help them learn how to praise and connect with their partners.