Relationship between Borderline Personality and ADHD

Posted on October 23, 2018

Studies have shown that people diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at a higher risk of having borderline personality disorder (BPD) as compared to those who do not have ADHD. Having a sibling with ADHD also increases one’s chance of having BPD.

BPD is when one often feels emotions in extremes for as long as several days. When one with BPD feels upset, it is much harder for them to calm themselves down and revert to their normal self. Most people with BPD tend to be women. It is also possible for men to have BPD too just that they are often misdiagnosed as depression or PTSD.

People with BPD often struggle to not only cope with the extreme emotions they are constantly feeling, but also the turbulence of their feelings as they can have wide mood swings from time to time. They make rash decisions and are drawn to the dangerous and living on the edge lifestyle. Some behaviors as such include practising unsafe sex, binge eating, being reckless and going on spending sprees. This is partially due to their fear of being cast aside or rejected. A woman with BPD might be constantly suspicious and develop distrust towards her partner, thinking that they might be cheating on her, hence feeling jealous and furious. Having an unstable romance past makes her more vulnerable as she believes her new partner will leave her eventually like her partners from the past. Also, her romantic feelings fluctuate, hence making her unpredictable.

People with BPD put the blame on others when something goes wrong and feel like the victim. They can create highly intense relationships in a short span of time and then cut off all communication with them the next minute a minor misunderstanding or quarrel happens, hence finding it difficult to trust anyone. Signs of BPD also consists of one constantly feeling bored and empty, having paranoid thoughts and feeling unstable or disconnected from the self. People with BPD have a higher tendency of engaging in self-harm and their desire to die resonates with that of someone with depression.

The causes of BPD are not fully identified, but they consist of genetic and neurological aspects together with personal history. People who once experienced childhood trauma such as neglect or abuse in the past, are more prone to having BPD. Genes for BPD might also be associated to ADHD. Other more severe effects of BPD are bipolar depression, depression, substance usage issues and other disorders.

Psychotherapy is crucial for BPD patients. They need to be guided in learning to manage the intensity of their emotions. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy which was created to treat BPD patients.


Category(s):Adult ADHD, Adult psychological development, Borderline Personality Disorder, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Health / Illness / Medical Issues, Health Psychology

Source material from Psychology Today


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