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BPD in Men, Statistics, Symptoms & Effective Treatment

Symptoms of BPD in men may manifest as aggression and explosive anger, often driving loved ones away. Early intervention and treatment can make a big difference in the life of someone who has it.

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

People with BPD tend to view things in extremes, such as all bad or all good. Their moods and opinions change quickly, and they have a pattern of ongoing instability in their relationships. Symptoms of BPD in men usually start by late adolescence or early adulthood. They can be very intense during the young adult years. Evidence-based mental health treatments such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can lead to less severe symptoms of BPD and improved quality of life.

Signs of BPD in Men

Gender differences in patients with borderline personality disorder are potentially relevant because they may guide clinicians in assessment and treatment. Several clinical features of borderline personality disorder have been examined for gender differences. As for prevalence, earlier research concluded that more women than men suffer from BPD. However, more recent research has determined no differences in prevalence by gender.

Here are the potential BPD signs in men:

  • Displays of Intense Anger

Men with BPD struggle more with excessive rage, explosive episodes, hostility, and violence than their female counterparts. According to research, this might be because of dysfunctions in the lateral prefrontal cortex, a section of the brain that sends signals to slow down the parts of the brain that react fast to perceived dangers. [1]

  • Antisocial Behavior

According to one study, 57% of males and 26% of women had antisocial personality traits, such as lying, lacking empathy, and rejecting right and wrong. When antisocial activities are carried out to prevent abandonment (such as by tricking someone into staying in a relationship with them) or as a way to express severe anger towards someone else, they may be symptoms of BPD (e.g., bullying or engaging in physical altercations). [2]

  • Substance Use

Those who engage in drug abuse behaviors frequently experience negative affect, alexithymia, and dissociation. They may use substances as a coping mechanism for these and other symptoms, as impulsive behavior, or as a means of self-harm, all of which are common in people with BPD. Men with BPD are significantly more likely to abuse substances than women.

  • Impulsivity

One of the “main borderline personality disorder symptoms in men” is impulsivity, which entails acting recklessly or riskily without thinking about the long-term repercussions. Men with BPD are more likely to act out against others or use drugs, whereas women with BPD may express impulsivity through eating or dieting patterns. While these actions are typical of BPD patients, some professionals think impulsive BPD is a subtype of the disorder.

  • Self-Harm Behavior

65-80% of those with BPD experience self-harm, which can take many forms in men, including cutting, burning, punching (oneself or things), and head-banging. These behaviors may accomplish several goals, such as fostering a sense of agency or numbing emotional suffering. They might also result from someone feeling like they deserve to be punished.

  • Suicidality

Suicidality, which includes contemplating and completing suicide, is a defining feature of BPD and can have several purposes (e.g., escape from reality, chronic emptiness, hopelessness, and feelings of worthlessness). Compared to women with BPD, men with concurrent unipolar depression or bipolar disorder have a higher risk of suicide.

BPD in Men
A diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is usually made in adults, not children or teenagers.
  • Unstable Relationships

Men with BPD frequently create uneasy attachments and reveal their dependence, uncertainty, and dread of being abandoned by loved ones. Feeling excluded could seem like aggressive conduct toward friends or acts of vengeance. Additionally, men with BPD may split, which entails seeing others as either entirely “good” or entirely “bad” and having an unstable connection with themselves, which may lead to frequent professional changes and fast-shifting interests.

  • Narcissism

Vulnerable and grandiose narcissistic symptoms are more common in men with BPD. While these symptoms may suggest a concomitant narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis, they may also be an effort to deal with an unstable sense of self or sensitivity to criticism or rejection from others.

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BPD Men Statistics

40% of men have never spoken to anyone about their mental health.

Source: NCBI

BPD affects approximately 5.6% of men.

Source: NCBI [1]

Men BPD FAQs

Can men get BPD?

Yes. BPD can manifest itself differently in men than in women. Men with BPD may exhibit paranoid, narcissistic, and antisocial behaviors.

What is the difference between BPD in men vs women?

Men with BPD are more likely to engage in substance abuse, whereas women with BPD are more likely to have an eating disorder, mood, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

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BPD Symptoms in Men

Can men have BPD? Yes. A combination and variety of symptoms may suggest that a man is experiencing BPD, including interpersonal difficulty, seeking new experiences with intense emotional sensations, quick shifts in mood (“acting hot and cold”), feelings of emptiness, and uncertainty about one’s identity. Men may be extremely sensitive and easy to anger.

“BPD symptoms men” may include:

  • Difficulty in relationships
  • Displays of intense anger
  • Aggression
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Uncertainty and problems with the sense of self
  • Novelty seeking (i.e. substance use and other risky behaviors)
  • Self-harm behavior
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Extreme sadness
  • Quick shifts in mood

While there may not be gender differences in BPD regarding prevalence, some specific self-harm behaviors (e.g., self-cutting), and present levels of overall psychological distress, there appear to be notable gender differences in personality traits.

Concerning these differences, men with BPD are more likely to demonstrate explosive temperaments coupled with high levels of novelty seeking.

BPD in Men
Treatment for BPD usually involves some psychological therapy, also known as psychotherapy.

Diagnosis

A licensed mental health professional—such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker—who is experienced in diagnosing and treating mental disorders can diagnose borderline personality disorder based on a thorough interview and a discussion about BPD in men symptoms. A careful and thorough medical exam also can help rule out other possible causes of symptoms. In diagnosing the illness, providers will discuss a person’s symptoms and ask about family medical histories, including histories of mental illness.

BPD is usually diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood. Occasionally, a person younger than 18 may be diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder if significant symptoms last at least a year.

Borderline personality disorder often occurs with other mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These co-occurring disorders can make diagnosing and treating borderline personality disorder harder, especially if symptoms of BPD in men with other illnesses overlap with symptoms of the disorder. For example, a person with a borderline personality disorder also may be more likely to experience symptoms of major depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or eating disorders.

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Borderline Personality Disorder Traits in Men

There are a few ways that BPD is different for men than it is for women, including:

  • Men living with BPD might feel or act differently than women living with the condition.
  • People living with BPD can also have other health disorders. These are called comorbidities. The other conditions that men with BPD have might not be the same as women’s.
  • Men and women living with BPD tend to get different types of treatment.

Men who have BPD may experience it differently than women do. For instance, guys with BPD may suddenly get quite angry. They might scream or damage objects. They may be so furious that they want to hurt themselves or someone else. Many claims to have an “explosive” temper.

BPD in Men
BPD is mainly treated using psychotherapy, but medication may be added. Your doctor also may recommend hospitalization if your safety is at risk.

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Men and BPD Risk Factors

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition in which a person has long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions. These inner experiences often result in impulsive actions and chaotic relationships with other people.

The cause of borderline personality disorder is unknown. Family/genetic and social factors are thought to play roles.

Risk factors for BPD include:

  • Abandonment in childhood or adolescence
  • Disrupted family life
  • Poor communication in the family
  • Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
BPD in Men
Learning to manage your emotions, thoughts and behaviors takes time. Most people improve considerably, but you may always struggle with some symptoms of borderline personality disorder.

This personality disorder tends to occur more often in women and among hospitalized psychiatric patients. Persons with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly. Their views of other people can change quickly. A person looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.

Other signs of borderline personality disorder in men:

  • Intense fear of being abandoned
  • Cannot tolerate being alone
  • Frequent feelings of emptiness and boredom
  • Regular displays of inappropriate anger
  • Impulsiveness, such as with substance abuse or sexual relationships
  • Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing

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How To Help Men With BPD?

Do men get BPD? Yes. But men struggling with BPD can find help through proper treatment. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is the most common treatment for borderline personality disorder. It is based on cognitive principles that aim to teach BPD patients how to control the emotions that cause problems in their lives and relationships. DBT consists of both individual sessions and group skills training. Many therapists make themselves available when not in session during crises and can often be reached by telephone. Treatment may improve your feelings about yourself along with your ability to function.

If you or a loved one exhibits any symptoms of borderline personality disorder, professional treatment can help.

The We Level Up FL primary mental health center stands ready to help. We Level Up FL can inspire a support system through our mental health treatments to make you feel valuable. You can trust the treatment backed by leading recovery specialists practicing evidence-based therapy. We Level Up FL Treatment Center offers therapy under one roof. Get comprehensive therapy for mind, body & spirit.

BPD in Men
You have the best chance of success when you consult a mental health provider with experience treating borderline personality disorder.

An effective treatment plan should include your preferences while also addressing any other co-existing conditions you may have. Examples of treatment options include psychotherapy; medications; and group, peer, and family support. The overarching goal of treatment is for a person with BPD to increasingly self-direct their own treatment plan as they learn what works and what doesn’t.

Borderline personality disorder historically has been viewed as challenging to treat. But with newer, evidence-based treatment, many people with this disorder experience fewer and less severe symptoms, improved functioning, and better quality of life. Patients with borderline personality disorder need treatment from a licensed mental health professional. Other types of treatment, or treatment from a provider who is not appropriately trained, may be ineffective or dangerous.

Many factors affect the time it takes for symptoms to improve once treatment begins. People with borderline personality disorder and their loved ones need to be patient and receive support during treatment.

Seek—and stick with—treatment.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, sometimes called “talk therapy,” is the first-line treatment for people with BPD. Most psychotherapy occurs with a licensed, trained mental health professional in one-on-one sessions or with other individuals in group settings. Group sessions may help teach people with BPD to interact with others and express themselves effectively.

Two examples of psychotherapies used to treat borderline personality disorder are:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This treatment was developed for individuals with BPD. DBT uses mindfulness or awareness of one’s present situation and emotional state. DBT also teaches skills to help people control intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behaviors, and improve relationships.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This treatment can help people identify and change core beliefs and behaviors resulting from inaccurate perceptions of themselves and others and problems interacting with others. It may help people reduce mood swings and anxiety symptoms and the number of self-harming or suicidal behaviors.

Medications

Because the benefits of prescription medication for BPD are unclear, medications aren’t typically used as the primary way to treat the illness. However, in some cases, a psychiatrist may recommend medications to treat specific symptoms or co-occurring mental disorders such as mood swings or depression. Treatment with medications may require coordinated care from more than one medical professional. Medications also can sometimes cause side effects in some people. Talk to your provider about what to expect from a particular medicine.

Other Elements of Care

Some people with borderline personality disorder experience severe symptoms and need intensive, often inpatient, care. Others may use some outpatient treatments but never need hospitalization or emergency care.

Therapy for Caregivers and Family Members

Having a relative or loved one with the disorder can be stressful, and family members or caregivers may unintentionally act in ways that can worsen their loved one’s symptoms. Although more research is needed to determine how well family therapy helps with borderline personality disorder, studies on other mental disorders show that including family members can help support a person’s treatment. Families and caregivers also can benefit from therapy.

Family therapy helps by:

  • Allowing the relative or loved one to develop skills to understand and support a person with BPD.
  • Focusing on the needs of family members helps them understand the obstacles and strategies for caring for someone with the disorder.

Call us now for a free mental health assessment! In addition, for the substance abuse or dual diagnosis approach, our inpatient treatmentinpatient medical detox, and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility. For more BPD in men treatment resources, call us about your symptoms, and we can help you determine the cause and develop a treatment plan.

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[6] Fariba KA, Gupta V, Kass E. Personality Disorder. [Updated 2022 Apr 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556058/

[7] Ekselius L. Personality disorder: a disease in disguise. Ups J Med Sci. 2018 Dec;123(4):194-204. DOI: 10.1080/03009734.2018.1526235. Epub 2018 Dec 12. PMID: 30539674; PMCID: PMC6327594.

[8] Galderisi S, Heinz A, Kastrup M, Beezhold J, Sartorius N. Toward a new definition of mental health. World Psychiatry. 2015 Jun;14(2):231-3. DOI: 10.1002/wps.20231. PMID: 26043341; PMCID: PMC4471980.

[9] Manwell LA, Barbic SP, Roberts K, Durisko Z, Lee C, Ware E, McKenzie K. What is mental health? Evidence towards a new definition from a mixed methods multidisciplinary, international survey. BMJ Open. 2015 Jun 2;5(6):e007079. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007079. PMID: 26038353; PMCID: PMC4458606.