Although mental health issues in aging individuals have received more attention, borderline personality disorder (BPD) in older adults and the elderly has been relatively neglected. Even with increased scientifically-based evidence in today’s world about BPD, there are still lingering myths and misconceptions about the disorder. This article aims to dispel these myths about BPD. 

 

MYTH: Borderline personality disorder is rare

FACT: BPD is diagnosed in 1-4% of the population, more than bipolar disorder and schizophrenia combined!

 

MYTH: Only women have a borderline personality disorder

FACT: Indeed, there is currently a 3 to 1 female to male ratio in those diagnosed with BPD. Men and women respond differently to emotional distress. Women are more likely to internalize their overwhelming feelings leading them to depression and anxiety. Men tend to have more explosive temperaments and engage in impulsive behaviors to avoid emotional harm. 

 

MYTH: “Help-rejecting complainers”, irresponsible, fickle, and egocentric

FACT: Those who suffer from BPD do not choose to be this way. Unfortunately, many people dismiss those with BPD as manipulative, destructive, and violent. Many consider people with BPD violent because of strong tendencies toward angry outbursts. However, it’s a minute representation of hundreds of BPD trait combinations. A person with BPD is too impulsive to think things through and many of their actions are done out of desperation for help so sometimes these intentions are misunderstood and perceived as manipulative.