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Women and Borderline Personality Disorder

            Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by unstable moods with an extreme tendency towards detrimental impulsivity. Individuals suffering from BPD usually maintain unhealthy interpersonal relationships and have a poor self-image. They tend to be irritable and quarrelsome one moment and then clingy, over-personal, and needy the next moment. A number of clinical studies in the past have found that there is a higher proportion of women that suffer from the disorder than men, leading to biases in the medical community as to how to classify and treat the disorder. Even more significant is the notable differences in the disorders' symptomatic personality traits as they relate to women versus as they relate to men. While men who tend to show BPD symptoms have a history of substance abuse, women are more likely to exhibit BPD symptoms when having a history of depression or anxiety. Men are more likely to drink heavily as a way to cope with the disorder, while women are liable to self-harm. Much of this can be attributed to differences in temperament between the genders. In fact, studies from as early as 1985 seem to suggest that twice as many women suffer from depressive disorders as men, even though men, and especially men with depressive mood disorders themselves, are four times more likely to successfully commit suicide than women. The co-morbidity of BPD and depression is much lower amongst womenn than amongst men and yet men still seem to engage in suicidal tendencies far more often. This discrepancy offers a very interesting point of study when related to the gender divide associated with BPD. From a clinical treatment standpoint, up to 80% of people seeking treatment for BPD are women, but as a patient community, the figure is far less extreme. Still, three times as many women as men are diagnosed with the disorder, while its occurrence is only in 2% of the population.

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