Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder. A person living with BPD has moods that change a lot. The patterns also affect how they feel about themselves (self-image) and other people. It can also affect how they act (behavior).

More women are diagnosed with BPD than men. However, researchers think that many men living with BPD do not know that they have it.

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 conditions. These are called comorbidities. The other conditions that men with BPD have might not be the same ones that women have.
  • Men and women living with BPD tend to get different types of treatment.

This article will help you understand what living with BPD is like for men. It will also talk about why men living with BPD are not diagnosed as often as women.

This article will talk about what it's like for men living with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It will also help you understand why men are not diagnosed with BPD as often as women are.

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What Is BPD?

About 1.6% of people in the general population is living with BPD. Among people who are in the hospital for a mental health condition, about 20% are living with BPD.

People living with BPD have a hard time controlling their feelings and behavior. They may feel intense anger, depression, and anxiety. They might feel like this for hours or days at a time.

People living with BPD may do dangerous or harmful things like driving in an unsafe way or taking risks when having sex. These actions can make it hard for people living with BPD to have relationships.


People with BPD may have mood swings. They may not be sure about how they see themselves and may not know what their "role" is in life. Their interests and values can change quickly.

People living with BPD often see the world in extremes. For example, they think people are either "all good" or "all bad" with no middle ground. This is called splitting.

A person living with BPD might change their opinions about people often. For example, a person who is a friend one day might seem like an enemy the next. This is one reason why people living with BPD can find it hard to keep up with relationships.

Other symptoms of BPD include:

  • Impulsive and dangerous behaviors such as:
  • Buying a lot of things even if they do not have the money ("spending sprees")
  • Having unsafe sex
  • Misusing substances (such as alcohol, medications, or illegal drugs)
  • Driving in a dangerous way, like going too fast (reckless driving)
  • Eating a lot of food at once (binge eating)
  • Hurting themselves on purpose (self-harming behavior such as cutting or burning)
  • Thinking about suicide a lot
  • Taking suicidal actions or threatening suicide
  • Intense moods that change a lot (these feelings may last a few hours or a few days)
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Anger that is not appropriate for a situation or troubling controlling their temper
  • Having a hard time trusting people or thinking that people want to hurt them
  • Feelings of dissociation (feeling "cut off" from themselves, seeing themselves outside of their body, or feelings of "unreality")

Signs of BPD in Men

BPD can be different for men living with the condition than it is for women. The signs of BPD in men are not always the same as the signs in women.

For example, men living with BPD may get very angry all of a sudden. They may yell or break things. They might be so mad they feel like hurting themselves or someone else. People might say they have an "explosive" temper.

Sometimes, people expect men to act "tough." They might not realize that when a man living with BPD gets very angry, it's a sign that they are having a hard time.

Men with BPD may get bored easily. They might feel the need to look for new things to do or see a lot. This is called "novelty-seeking behavior." Women with BPD can also have this trait but it's more common in men.


People living with BPD can have intense emotions that change often. Even though more women are diagnosed with BPD than men, it does not mean that men do not have BPD.

Men may take longer to find out they have BPD because it does not feel or look the way it does in women. The way that men are expected to act can make it harder to see the signs of BPD.

Comorbidities and Complications

A person living with BPD may have other mental health conditions, too. They can also have medical conditions. Sometimes, these conditions affect each other. When a person has more than one condition at the same time, they're called comorbidities.

If a person has other conditions, it might affect how they get diagnosed with BPD. It can also affect BPD treatment.

Women living with BPD often have eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When women get treatment for these conditions, they are more likely to find out that they have also BPD.

On the other hand, some of the conditions that are common in men with BPD can make it harder for them to get diagnosed and treated.

Substance Use

Men living with BPD may have substance use disorders, especially with alcohol. One study showed that about 75% of men with BPD also have a substance use disorder in their lifetime.

This might be one reason why men do not always know that they have BPD. A man who misuses substances might get into trouble with the law. They could go to prison instead of to a place where they could get help for BPD (like a hospital or mental health facility).


Between 60% to 85% of people living with BDP hurt themselves on purpose. It's called non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI).

In one study, researchers looked at the type of self-harm that men and women with BPD did. They looked at 22 self-harm behaviors. Only 2 were more common in men than in women: head-banging and losing a job on purpose.

The researchers said that there might be some differences in self-harm between men and women with BPD, but many of the actions are the same.

Signs of Self-Harm

There are some signs that could mean someone you know is self-harming, such as:

  • Scars, scratches, bruises, or burns on their body
  • Having sharp objects around
  • Wearing long sleeves or pants
  • Trying not to show their skin

Other Mental Health Disorders

Men with BPD are more likely to show a lot of anger than women with BPD. They are also more likely to be paranoid, passive-aggressive, narcissistic, or sadistic. People with other mental health conditions may have these traits. For example, antisocial personality disorder is also more common in men living with BPD.


People living with BPD can also have other mental health or medical conditions. Some of these other conditions can also make it harder for a person to get diagnosed with BPD or get treatment.

For example, many men living with BPD also have substance use disorders. Misusing substances can get someone in trouble with the law. If a man goes to prison instead of a place where they could get mental health care, they might not find out they have BPD.


Women living with BPD look for treatment more often than men. Women are also more likely to take medicine or go to therapy to help with BPD symptoms. When men living with BPD get help, it is usually for substance use disorders.

How to Get Help

If you are having suicidal thoughts, dial 988 to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect with a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.


Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition. A person living with BPD can have intense feelings that change often. They might feel very sad one minute and very angry the next. Sometimes, they do dangerous things or hurt themselves.

People living with BPD can have a hard time in relationships. They might not trust people. They might think that people want to hurt them even if that is not true.

Men living with BPD may not know that they have it. The condition is not diagnosed as often in men as it is in women. However, that does not mean that men do not have BPD.

People with BPD can also have other conditions. Some conditions, like substance use disorders, are more common in men with BPD. These conditions can actually make it harder for them to find out that they have BPD and get treatment.

A Word From Verywell

It might seem like BPD is more common in women than in men, but there are many reasons why getting a diagnosis and treatment for BPD is hard for men.

BPD does not feel or look the same for men and women. Sometimes, the way that men are expected to act covers up the signs of BPD.

People living with BPD may also have other conditions on top of it. The treatment that a man living with BPD needs might be different than what a woman needs.

If you or a loved one has signs of BPD, reach out for help. You can talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. If you have BPD, these people can make sure that you get a treatment that will work for you.

9 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kimberly Charleson
Kimberly is a health and wellness content writer crafting well-researched content that answers your health questions.