Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Closer Look

Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Closer Look

Personality disorders are segmented into three different clusters, each with their own set of diagnostic criteria. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) falls into Cluster B, which is characterized by highly dramatic, overly emotional thoughts and behaviors.

Also falling into Cluster B is Antisocial Personality Disorder. Since both disorders have overlapping symptoms, how do you know which of these two personality disorders you or a loved one may have?

Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms

People who have Antisocial Personality Disorder have a tendency to manipulate, exploit, or violate the rights of others. Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder include the following:

  • Aggression and getting into frequent physical altercations
  • Poor impulse control and neglecting to consider consequences
  • Irresponsibility (for example, the inability to hold a job or fulfill other obligations)
  • Deceitfulness (as evidenced by regular lying or misrepresentation)
  • Disregard for the safety of others and self, and general lack of remorse following mistreatment of others
  • Inability to conform to social norms, often engaging in illegal behaviors

This pattern of violating others’ rights inevitably leads to an impaired ability to establish and sustain positive relationships with others.

Antisocial Personality Disorder Treatment

Antisocial Personality Disorder treatment options include psychotherapy, stress and anger management education, and medication. In addition, residential treatment programs for personality disorders are extremely beneficial because they provide a safe and supportive living environment in which to fully recover.

One difficulty in getting treatment for Antisocial Personality Disorder is that you or your loved one might not believe there is a need for getting help, since blaming others and not taking responsibility for actions is common with this disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, on the other hand, include the following:

  • Efforts to avoid abandonment and rejection, whether this abandonment is real or  imagined
  • Poor impulse control, including reckless and self-endangering behavior such as substance abuse or binge eating
  • Mood swings, characterized by bouts of unprovoked and intense anger, depression, or feelings of emptiness
  • Poor self-image, including periods of self-doubt and self-importance
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships (alternating between idealizing and despising others)
  • Recurring suicidal behavior or self-mutilation

BPD Treatment

The most effective treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT can teach you problem-solving skills, ways to better regulate your emotions, and reduce suicidal behaviors.

BPD treatment also involves individual therapy, group therapy, and holistic therapies such as yoga and art therapy. Medication may also be used to treat common co-occurring disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

How are BPD and Antisocial Personality Disorder Similar?

Because they are both Cluster B personality disorders, people with Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder commonly display impulsivity and manipulative behaviors.

People with either personality disorder are also at high risk for substance abuse and suicidal behaviors.

How are BPD and Antisocial Personality Disorder Different?

Although Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder share some characteristics, they can also be distinguished in a number of ways:

  • People with Antisocial Personality Disorder are more likely to direct their aggression toward others, whereas with Borderline Personality Disorder this aggression is more self-directed and self-damaging.
  • There is greater egocentric behavior in people with Antisocial Personality Disorder and an impaired ability to form attachments. This detachment contributes to making therapy a more difficult process for people with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
  • People with BPD are more likely to seek out interpersonal relationships. They also maintain a damaged self-image and combat depression more often than people with Antisocial Personality Disorder.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder tends to affect more men than women, whereas BPD is more common in women than men.

An important first step to treating either Borderline Personality Disorder or Antisocial Personality Disorder is to educate yourself so you know how to get the appropriate help for you or your loved one. With the proper personality disorder treatment, either disorder is manageable.




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