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Borderline Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder: A Closer Look

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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.



    Having been diagnosed 15 years ago, my doctors never explained what it was or how it affected my life. I’ve felt so alone in this illness. It is encouraging to know it’s treatable and more common than previously known. Would love to chat with someone with the same disorder. We need each other to survive, I believe.

  2. Shawn, what is your diagnosis? I can totally relate to feeling alone. I’m learning the brain is capable of so much and help is out there, but you have to ask. The changes I’ve been going through since asking for help (from therapists) have been both rewarding and frustrating. It’s a process and I refuse to give up.

  3. Hi I was assessed by a expert psychiatrist and her diagnosis says I have both of these I never understand why I always ruin everything and everyone my life is a complete mess I just can’t help myself I try to be good but I always hurt the ones I love because I’m so nasty to them I really dont mean it but I feel so paranoid all the time but u feel like I have to go mad I’ve been like this for over 13 years now and I need help

  4. Can someone explain to me how you can have both of these? Because, from what I understand if ASPD is basically when you lack basic emotions and BPD is when you feel emotions to strongly, how do you have both? I’m just curious… I feel like people with ASPD are sometimes very good at convincing peope they are in pain but it is just to manipulate they are not capable of feeling bad for people… Most the time at least.

  5. I too was just diagnosed with having both of these. As i battle back and forth with things. Im depressed, i have broken the law, i use marijuana, try to keep a job but have not been successful, i have hurt myself and others without remorse, death or tragic events for other people means nothing to me but my events can tend to get dramatic, im a homebody cuz its safe. My psych report states it will be very challenging for even experienced therapists. Ive been to therapists but i am able to manipulate how meetings go without really knowing im manipulating it. My life is a true testament to somebody wanting something so badly and never quite reaching it and not knowing why others are reaching for the same and retrieving it without much resistance.

  6. Have been diagnosed Borderline, but Antisocial is more like me, is it possible to be both ?

  7. I was diagnosed by a Psychologist and a psychiatrist, 7 years ago with BPD, my husband of 5 years, was diagnosed with ASPD, 4 years ago. We have two awesome children. Apart from the diagnosis, neither of us have been for any sort of treatment, no pills, no therapy, just us. Life is challenging, yes but somehow it still moves. The Mr works and loves it. The children are healthy and well educated. But although things seem lovely, its hard. Its noted hard to be a Good Mother. It is not hard to be a loving wife. What is hard, is making new friends, motivating yourself enough to begin therapy, dealing with all the judgmental, selfish, bastards that share this beautiful planet. Living. Loving is easy, living. That’s a whole other story.

  8. I feel like because I’m borderline I can recognize sociopaths , and now that I know more about mental illness I have way more compassion for all mentally ill people and addicts . I’m so happy to hear that there’s hope for all people and that everyone can be healed . I truly believe it !!!!

  9. Does anyone know who you would go to to get a diagnoses? I’ve tried talking to my mother multiple times and she only says I’m doing it for attention. I don’t feel sane or honestly in control. I look at all these symptoms for BAPD and I feel like they fit all too well. Would I or…should I go to my primary care doctor for help? My mom refuses to have me tested and I’m at my wits end with this. I’m 21 soon to be 22 and I don’t think I can deal with all of this anymore. If anyone could help me in any way I would appreciate it. Thanks.

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