Do you or someone you know exhibit the following characteristics: frequent self-injurious behaviors (SIB), suicidal ideations or suicide attempts, frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, unstable and intense interpersonal relationships that include alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation, identity disturbance, impulsivity (acting before thinking), chronic feelings of emptiness, and inappropriate and intense emotions that are sometimes disproportional to the trigger? Many of these characteristics make up the term Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD tends to be a frequent diagnosis for females, primarily those females who have many of the above symptoms including frequent SIB and suicidal thoughts. Sadly, many males (adolescents and adults) also exhibit symptoms of BPD but are often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. The key to identifying BPD in males is to look at the constellation of symptoms and the intensity of the emotions of the individual.
According to the updated DSM-5 criteria, BPD is diagnosable when an individual exhibits the following:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., substance abuse, binge eating, and reckless driving)
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
Stay tuned for my new article on this topic, specifically for learning of symptoms common in males, on Wednesday, May 25 at blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers.