Melody T. McCloud M.D.

Black Women's Health and Happiness

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men? It Happens.

Not gender-specific, BPD deserves more awareness, research, new name.

Posted Mar 21, 2011

During my first year in medical school, the entire month of January was dedicated to neuroanatomy and neurophysiology. At the time, I dreaded those thirty-one days, and was thrilled to see that hard-earned "P" for Pass on February 1st.

My love for my specialty (obstetrics & gynecology) is still paramount; but as I've aged, I've become increasingly fascinated by the brain and the machinations of the mind. Before Bill Gates, gigabytes, and the Internet, there was the amazing wonder called the human brain--the greatest computer of all. And so it remains, and always will be. But in 2011, my interest in, and fascination with, the brain and mind has advanced even further, and not only as an academic requirement.

I hate to see people hurt--even privately; especially people I know. But with my travels, I've encountered a pained soul who, I'm convinced, has Borderline Personality Disorder--BPD. Every criteria is met. And he's a man--a grown one, at that. Social security check in hand.

Has he ever been formally evaluated, diagnosed or treated? Did anyone catch the signs and symptoms early on, put the pieces together? Did he ever seek counseling for years of private misery, including when his adult relationships "always ended badly"? No to all. Somehow he escaped the system; looking back, that may not have been a totally good thing.

As a youth, he was often a street bully, but was never arrested; and he made no suicidal attempts. At work, he was likely perceived as machismo, since others had to do as he said, at all times, or else. Socially, everything he did, said, and how he (over)reacted was normal...to him. And now, to the casual observer, this "great" guy "can get angry in a nanosecond."

Despite a great need to do PR for my new book, Living Well, I have spent much of the past six weeks privately, voraciously researching BPD in order to help this friend--who, yes, refuses to hear or get evaluated. (The very people who need evaluation and counseling are often the main ones to resist it.) I've created a flowchart that some in the mental health field might find of interest; I'll be happy to share it with some at educational institutions, as I'm able.

I read that May is designated Borderline Personality Disorder Month (among other health observances). In advance thereof (and despite the current statistics that BPD is mostly a woman's disease), I invite my medical colleagues, and others interested in this topic, to remember that men suffer from BPD, too. I'd like to see more data about the prevalence of BPD in males. In this day, there's a high incidence of inconsistent parenting, also child sexual abuse. Also, since many single parents raise children post-divorce, or some fathers were never present in the first place (high rates of that in minority populations), even some racial/ethnic data would be helpful to collect.

I'm also highly interested in the neuropsychopharmacology of this disease; so if you'll allow this gynecologic surgeon to venture a hypothesis, I plan to make another post in which I offer a suggestion for researchers to not only look at the possible role of serotonin, dopamine, vasopressin and oxytocin, but another substance not yet linked to BPD; specifically, GABA...and I'll tell you why. Soon. Stay tuned. And when May comes, I'll be eager to read, as I'm sure they'll be plenty new articles about this destructive condition that lacks the public awareness its pained victims, and their loved ones, need and deserve.

In the meantime, remember that April is National Poetry Month and National Minority Health Month. I invite you to examine the psycho-social burdens that affect many Black women's physical health in my new book: Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell. Get one for yourself, and for a friend who may have emotional pain you don't even perceive. To all...

Be Healthy, Be Blessed...and Live Well.

Copyright © 2011 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved.

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