Overlapping Autistic and BPD Traits
Sensitivity to Abandonment
Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is common among Autists and Adhders. Rejection sensitivity is an intense sensitivity to rejection or perceived rejection. People with RSD often go to great lengths to avoid situations that cause them to feel rejected. They also have strong reactions when they perceive themselves as being rejected.
A Diffuse Sense of Self
A diffuse sense of self. A core feature of BPD is a “diffuse sense of self” or lack of “self-identity,” often resulting from early childhood development/trauma. High-masking autists, who learn to socialize through copying/becoming chameleons, often lack a true social identity
Chronic Feelings of Emptiness
These feelings are commonly reported among high-masking autistics. This likely is related to diffuse identity due to social masking. Many autists also experience a sense of emptiness during burnout and when not actively engaged in a task
Social interactions & maintaining long-term relationships can be challenging for both groups. However, the core reasons behind difficulty often have different origins and must be considered.
Emotional dysregulation is a core feature of BPD. Autists also struggle with emotional dysregulation due to the autistic brain wiring/chemistry. Sensory overload and sensory meltdowns can also lead to emotional dysregulation
Depersonalization and Derealization
Depersonalization involves the sensation that a person’s body/self is unreal or altered in a strange way.
Derealization involves the experience of the external world being bizarre, unreal, or dream-like.
Insecure Attachment Style
BPD is characterized by an insecure attachment style (typically anxious/preoccupied)
Autistic people often experience insecure attachments. Autistic people are more likely to have an avoidant attachment style: One study found a higher rate of avoidant attachment styles among Autistic individuals. No association was found between anxious attachment and autistic traits
Both have a high % of eating disorders (may function as a method of self-soothing/gaining a sense of control)
While the rates vary, most researchers agree that about 23% of people diagnosed with anorexia nervosa are Autistic. However, it is likely an underrepresentation due to the fact Autism often goes undiagnosed within this population
Co-occurring Mood Disorders
According to one study, 79% of Autists met the criteria for a co-occurring psychiatric tradition at least once in their life (Lever and Geurts).