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When Women Battle ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is marked by volatility, seemingly manipulative behaviors, and crushing anxiety. It's difficult for family and friends to understand, and for doctors to treat — particularly when it affects women living with ADHD. Here's what patients and clinicians should know about this less common comorbid condition.

10 Comments: When Women Battle ADHD and Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. The men who are feeling rejected because they aren’t being represented in this article need to grow up. The fact is that ADHD presents itself differently in women, and yes, more women than men are diagnosed with BPD. The majority of studies and testing is done using adult male subjects (that goes for almost all scientific/psychological studies), and those results don’t translate identically to women.
    As a woman with ADHD and BPD I found this article to be somewhat enlightening…while I’m already aware how both disorders affect me, the overlap in symptoms is interesting.

  2. I’m a male diagnosed with these, quiet subtype. Is it very different with men, or just more rare? Why you gotta abandon me like that, lol

  3. I’m a man recently diagnosed with both of these in early middle age. Is this applicable to men as well, or does this combination manifest differently? Is it more that the vast majority of patients with this are women? Not offended if this means I have a somewhat “girly” brain somehow, that almost makes it feel more true. lol

  4. @BeautifulMind are you serious? Breast cancer, colon cancer, testicular cancer, lung cancer… There ARE different types of cancer, and each of them have a number of different causes. You don’t get testicular cancer from smoking, for example.

    What you are suggesting would actually push us backward not forward.

  5. Why don’t we stop trying to categorize and differentiate between all of these disorders, and just look at them as one umbrella disorder under one name? Don’t they all probably have the same underlying cause?

    For example cancer. It could happen in any of your organs. We don’t go around calling them different names and trying to seperate them. Cancer is cancer. It has one underlying cause, and that’s it.

  6. Dear Dr Littman:
    Both BPD and ADHD have something in common….low dopamine. Look at Reward deficiency Syndrome which is a hypodopaminergic condition and you’ll see it has exactly the same behaviors as BPD.

  7. “The core symptoms of ADHD, such as persistent inattention, distractibility, and hyperactivity, are not among the criteria for BPD” This assumes that there is NO emotional component for adhd which is just NOT TRUE. People with adhd are commonly very unstable emotionally and highly sensitive. They lie a lot, have relationship problems, low self esteem & identity problems as a result. The more I read about BPD the more I think it is just ADHD & Bipolar disorder combined. You can have both.

    1. I feel this. I’ve been diagnosed with BPII and ADHD, and the only reason I’m looking at this article is because I am still trying to wrap my head around what symptoms and behaviors belong to what, and the only thing that I don’t identify with here (BPD) is the paranoia, the breaks with reality (not even required), the self harm, and maybe the “emptiness,” depending on how that is defined. But, then, much of the remaining behavior is covered pretty well by the other diagnoses (more or less). Add to that suspected Asperger’s and… *shrug* I feel like I’m making myself crazier just trying to get my head around it. But it seems worth it if I can know my disorders better, treat them more effectively, and get my life back on track.

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