1. What factors do you think contribute to the finding that borderline personality disorder (BPD) is much more common in women than in men? One important psychosocial contribution to BPD is an early traumatic event, possibly including sexual or physical abuse. Since the instance of traumatic childhood sexual abuse is two to three times higher in females than in males, it could be expected that BPD is more common in women than in men. Also, other societal influences such as the media tend to promote propaganda that could have a negative affect on the self-image of such young women, thereby contributing to the onset of the disorder.
2. BPD is associated with an elevated suicide rate. What reasons do you believe account for the surprisingly high incidence of parasuicidal behaviors in these persons? What do you think are the best ways to respond to a person who displays suicidal gestures? One of the primary risk factors for suicide is a stressful or traumatic life event that is experienced as humiliating or shameful.
The book uses an example of rejection by a loved one. BPD is characterized by this type of instability of interpersonal relationships and an impaired self-image, as well as possible paranoia or dissociative symptoms, which can cause many normal life events to be misinterpreted or perceived as stressful and humiliating.
It is important not to ignore suicidal gestures. A person displaying suicidal tendencies should be confronted, and perhaps asked to promise that they will not attempt any parasuicidal activity without first contacting their therapist. If there is an immediate and seemingly unavoidable danger, the person should be hospitalized while receiving counseling. The emphasis of treatment, however, should be addressing any stressful life events or other problems which may have precipitated the person?s actions.
3. What similarities...