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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: How common are personality disorders?  (Read 35970 times)
Skip
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2009, 04:14:17 PM »

It was a study of 43,000 people conducted by the National Institute of Health.   There is a discussion in the paper (se link) regarding the prior (smaller) studies and way they may have arrived at such low figures.

You can direct your questions to:

Bridget F. Grant, Ph.D., Ph.D.,

Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry, Room 3077,

Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological Research,

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,

National Institutes of Health, M.S. 9304,

5635 Fishers Lane, Bethesda,

MD 20892-9304,

Tel. 301-443-7370,

Fax 301-443-1400,

E-mail, bgrant@willco.niaaa.nih.gov
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ForeverDad
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2009, 03:45:20 PM »

Bill Eddy is an author, founded or co-founded www.HighConflictInstitute.com and holds seminars in various cities for lawyers, judges and other professionals.  Of course, the focus is on divorces and custody, but it also affects other aspects of conflict and disputes.  He has taped his presentation on Understanding & Managing High Conflict Personalities and has an 8-DVD set of one of his seminars.  It's not cheap but I do feel that as a professional conducting quality seminars, he presents common sense background, insights and suggestions for those in the legal and counseling systems dealing with these "High Conflict Personalities".

I've only started viewing his seminar, but he outlines the various personality disorders and focuses on the acting-out Cluster B PDs (Narcissistic, Borderline, Antisocial and Histrionic).  Everyone fits into one of three groups.



  • reasonable persons...  can settle and resolve their conflicts.


  • maladaptive personality traits... may resolve conflicts with careful management


  • personality disorders... rigid patterns of thinking and behavior, may be unable to resolve conflicts




He notes an NIH study, possibly the one already mentioned here and arrives at the already mentioned nearly 15% approximation.  Then he switched to the courts and noted a survey of over 1100 cases in 2 California counties revealed about 15% of divorce cases are reported as "intense" legal conflict and another 10% as "substantial" legal conflict.  As I recall, he stated something like this... Is this [percentage] familiar?

In a High Conflict Divorce study of 160 parents by Johnston and Campbell, 2/3 met DSM PD criteria and another 1/4 had traits, which he referred to as the intermediate ones who had maladaptive traits.

In summary, while those with acting-out PDs may comprise only 15%, more or less, of the population, they comprise the majority of high conflict disputes.
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2009, 10:51:20 PM »

The statistics I was given in a NAMI class I took was 2% for BPD.  I don't remember what that was based on.

The thing that surprised me from the NAMI class was that they said research had shown that the same percentages of the same mental illnesses showed up in all cultures - even non-industrialized.  I remember that, because I felt so sorry for the people who do not have our understanding having to live with that.  I believe their statistics on all mental disease was about 25% approximately.  Can you imagine living in a culture where there is little to no understanding of what the person is going through.  I guess some of those people were the shamans or mystics of those cultures - the people who saw visions.  But, as I said, that is a guess.  It just makes me realize how lucky we are to have some education to fall back on.

That's about all I have to say on the subject at the moment.  Just needed to put my two percent worth in.

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« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2009, 09:14:39 AM »

He notes an NIH study, possibly the one already mentioned here and arrives at the already mentioned nearly 15% approximation.  Then he switched to the courts and noted a survey of over 1100 cases in 2 California counties revealed about 15% of divorce cases are reported as "intense" legal conflict and another 10% as "substantial" legal conflict.  As I recall, he stated something like this... Is this [percentage] familiar?

In a High Conflict Divorce study of 160 parents by Johnston and Campbell, 2/3 met DSM PD criteria and another 1/4 had traits, which he referred to as the intermediate ones who had maladaptive traits.

In the interest of full disclosure: I don't like the thought of a large percentage of the population being mentally ill, somehow it feels like "normal" is defined too narrow. Warning following is very very very unscientific as the things considered are not independent and one BPD can account for multiple events...

Does it make sense to look at a population that is at a time of conflict (divorce) during their life? When children are involved even rational people become irrational and are steered by emotions. BPD is not a temporary phenomena and pervasive in a BPDs live. Everyone feels down at times in their life and likely meets depression criteria. Not everyone needs treatment - most illnesses heal themselves.

But let's take the 15% at face value. How much population is that? Only half because the other half won't get divorced so we are at 7.5%. Then only one is BPD and the other is a non so we are at 3.5%. If we then adjust for the divorced BPDs going through more than one divorce (speculation) then we are at 2-3%. This still feels a bit on the high side.

Let us do it the other way round. Assuming 10 sex partners on average per person during their lifetime and making that 10 for BPDs (excluding on-night stands for them). Also assume 5 jobs and some fertility. Then 1% BPDs in the population would affect in a big way 2% (parents) + 1% sibling + 10% partners + 2% children + 5% bosses + 5% subordinates= 25%.

==> We don't need a lot of borderlines to see nons (and indirectly them) everywhere.

Considering the damage a BPD can do if not handled right and the cross section of the population indirectly affected in a big way - awareness has to be build both for the condition as for the tools.
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2011, 01:02:28 PM »

An article on this site states:

https://bpdfamily.com/bpdresources/nk_a103.htm

"Although definitive data are lacking, it's estimated that 1 percent to 2 percent of American adults have borderline personality disorder (BPD). It occurs in about one in every 33 women, compared with one in every 100 men, and is usually diagnosed in early adulthood."

Looking over the message boards, it seems there are just as many posts about BPD men as women. Is this because women are more likely to seek support and information on sites such as theses?

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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2011, 01:23:00 PM »

That may be one factor - who chooses to come here for help.

The article you cite refers to how many men and women are diagnosed with BPD.  That's not quite the same thing as how many men and women have BPD.  Other studies have shown that it's about equal, but women are more likely to be diagnosed than men are;  that is, there are more men who have it but haven't been diagnosed.

One possible reason for that is that when someone enters adulthood and their behavior is no longer excusable - it's not a kid throwing a fit - women are more likely to go toward behavioral health treatment - medication and/or talk-therapy - either because they choose to or because someone else pushes them.  Men are more likely to go into the criminal justice system.  Unfortunately those two systems don't overlap much;  if you are getting help you are less likely to commit serious crimes, and if you are in jail you probably won't get treatment.

So it's a fork in the road - maybe just as many men as women coming to that fork but more men taking the "jail" road and more women taking the "treatment" road.
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2011, 02:52:28 PM »

According to the specific study mentioned in that thread, like Skip reported, the ratio is closer to being equal as far as men and women suffering from the disorder (and would support  the reason there is an equal number of women and men posters in a relationship with a pwBPD on this board).  

So it's a fork in the road - maybe just as many men as women coming to that fork but more men taking the "jail" road and more women taking the "treatment" road.

Gosh, I had never thought of that. It feels a little stereotypical to me (i.e. men don't ask for directions), but I can see where it would make sense. Is there any literature/studies to support that idea?  How can we possibly determine the undiagnosed population?  

I wonder how many of those choosing the "jail" vs. "treatment" route, were in fact chosing the "substance abuse" route and the consequences involving "jail" or perhaps "treatment". There are studies that have shown that nearly 50% - 60% of those diagnosed with BPD have issues with alcohol or other substances, so I'm sure that statistic could overflow to those who are not diagnosed.    

~DreamGirl
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2011, 03:00:48 PM »

Yeah, DG, I think you're right - probably most guys think they're choosing the "drinking" route and then later realize they're on the "drugs" route and then wake up some day in jail.  The signpost doesn't say "Jail this way"...

The way this has been quantified - I'll try to find links if I can, or maybe somebody else remembers where they are - is two ways.

One method is to survey people who have been diagnosed with BPD and find out how many are men and how many are women.  This is the type of survey Iguana referred to in her original post.  Surveys like this always show way more women diagnosed with BPD than men.  (You could view this as counting the number of people who are traveling on the Treatment Road.)

The other method is to survey a random sample of adults and give them a test to indicate if they have BPD.  Of course, you have to survey a lot of people because only a few % will show positive.  This method shows more nearly equal numbers of men and women with BPD.  (You could view this as counting the number of people who are traveling on the road before it gets to the fork.)

A third type of survey - I'm sure it's been done but I've never read one like this - would be to talk to people who are traveling on the Drugs And Jail Road.  I think it's a safe bet that a lot of them would have BPD (and other problems) but never have been diagnosed.  (I've had the opportunity to talk with many people like this but I haven't read any quantitative studies.)
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2011, 12:51:48 PM »

I re-read these this morning, and I want to take a minute to refer back to Skip's message a couple of years ago in which he stated that it was more prevalant among lower income groups.  I wonder if it is a genetic disorder, why would this be?

The reason I ask this is that I've said this to my counselor many times.  Many of you who might remember my posts will remember that I've talked about how being raised by a borderline had opened me up to repeated borderlines in my life, and one of the reasons for that is that I come from a very poor culture - my parents came from illiterate Appalachian American, I was the first generation to learn how to read.  So, other than a boss I had who was BPD (and she may have come from a poor culture - I don't know) most of the borderlines I've met are from the poor roots of my background (even the ones I met out of the mountains and in the inner city when we moved here) or they were in the inner city preying on the vulnerability of the poor.  So, that's why I've met so many of them and been a repeat victim.  But, if it is genetic, then why is it more prevalent among the poor?  To me, that says that it is conditioning.  Any thoughts? 

And, how do those of us who were raised and trying to escape a poor environment become more successful at it when we're surrounded by borderlines?  I don't remember the name of the book, but there was a young man who wrote a book to rebuff the book "Nickled and Dimed" and he was on a news interview telling how he wrote his book to rebuff Nickled and Dimed because he left his culture as a college educated young man who had been raised in a very functional family with good resources and good breeding and took a "common" job and had put $1,500 in the bank in six months and was talking about how if he could do it anyone could do it.  Well, I'm gonna say it quite frankly and if he's offended he can get on this forum and talk to me himself - he is an idiot.  If you are raised very poor you can't be selfish enough to just go out there and think about yourself - what money you are making is helping your family (and not just your kids but your parents and grandparents) and then if there is any left over you put it in the bank.  Plus, you are not as educated (I went to night school for twenty years) and you are not as socially comfortable in upper classes to be able to charm employers and co-workers, and often you have illness in the family such as BPD that needs your attention.  I can't tell you how many sabbaticals I had to take from school to attend to family illnesses or my own health situations.  Therefore, when you are dealing with BPD and need to be considerate of how it is affecting your entire family who lacks resources and still get ahead for yourself and your family.  I finally made it, but the price was great and there must have been a way to do it with a lesser price tag.  And, honestly, some of that price was created by BPDs who came in from better resources to prey on the poor.  So, to some degree BPD's are more in the poor population cuz they can't earn as much money due to their disease, so they end up in the inner city trying to find a kind person (read the book the Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne and you'll see how the poorer cultures survive by caring for each other and the kindness they offer in times of need, which is real as I've lived it) to prey upon in the hope of having their previous lifestyle given to them by a kind heart, but there are also many there who originated in the poverty and due to the lack of resources they are the responsibility of everyone in the community and that can't be taken lightly.

Thank you.

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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2011, 11:07:00 PM »

Somewhere I had seen a recent study that had claimed the rate of BPD was much higher...like 5.9%   I posted it on here a while back...from Time Magazine.www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1870491,00.htmlA 2008 study of nearly 35,000 adults in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that 5.9% — which would translate into 18 million Americans — had been given a BPD diagnosis. As recently as 2000, the American Psychiatric Association believed that only 2% had BPD18 MILLION Americans...this is only those given a BPD diagnosis...and if you figure a minimum of 2 people that are directly and significantly impacted by the behaviors of each of those...that makes 36 million Non's...in the US alone.  Not to mention the likelyhood of millions more that are undiagnosed.

This is the figure the NEABPD.org is using now.
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