Borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder are two mental health conditions that are often misdiagnosed. And the reason why they’re often misdiagnosed is that both involve symptoms of sudden and intense emotional responses, depression and impulsive behavior.
However, there lies a significant difference between them in terms of the type of mental disorder, symptoms, and treatment options.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder marked by a sense of alienation from people; not being able to relate to them or perceive social situations appropriately. People suffering from BPD are unable to meet behavioral social expectations, resulting in severe personal and interpersonal conflicts.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. As the name suggests, it is about functioning across two opposite poles. Sometimes you’re high on energy, and everything appears rosy, even when things are bad. Other times, you get stuck with depression even when everything appears to be fine. People with bipolar disorder have serious changes in mood (mood swings).
Borderline personality disorder grips around 1.4 percent of adults in the United States, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health. While bipolar disorder is relatively common and affects about 2.6 percent of the U.S population.
Diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder
Both mental health conditions are challenging to diagnose. Multiple medical and psychological questionnaires related to the severity and duration of symptoms are required to rule out other closely related mental disorders.
For diagnosing BPD, a mental health professional conducts a comprehensive clinical interview with the patient, consults with previous healthcare professionals, and interviews the patient’s family, friends, and relatives too.
To diagnose bipolar disorder, you are asked to keep a track of your daily mood swings, differing energy levels, and changing sleep patterns. Its diagnosis is further categorized as bipolar I and bipolar II disorder.
Bipolar I disorder is when you have one classic episode of mania, lasting for about 7 days. Bipolar II disorder is characterized by one major depressive episode, in addition to an episode of hypomania.
Here, we review the difference between the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder include:
● Frantic attempts to avoid feelings of abandonment
● Unstable relationships
● Being sarcastic and bitter
● Tendency to view the world as white or black
● Poor self-image
● Impulsiveness (spending, sex, substance abuse, etc.)
● Self-harm (e.g., cutting) or suicidal behavior
● Wide mood swings involving anger and depression, lasting from a few hours to days
● Feeling empty inside
● Being unable to cope with unpleasant emotions
For bipolar disorder, symptoms during the mania phase of the cycle include:
● An excessively happy or angry mood (nothing in-between)
● Reduced need for sleep
● High physical and mental energy
● Fast-paced thoughts and ideas
● Growing more talkative than usual
● Making unrealistic plans
● Impulsive behavior (substance abuse, sex, spending, etc.)
● Poor judgment
● Taking risks like never before
Symptoms during the depressive phase of the cycle include:
● A sudden drop in energy
● Insomnia or hypersomnia
● Prolonged sadness
● Less activity and energy
● Restlessness and irritability
● Being unable to concentrate
● Poor decision-making
● Loss of interest in life
● Feelings of guilt and hopelessness
● Suicidal thoughts
● Loss of appetite
● Psychotherapy (primary treatment option)
● Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) in combination with individual therapy and group therapy to develop mindfulness
● Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to break false perceptions of reality
● Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) for controlling self-harm urges
● Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT)
There are no FDA-approved medications for BPD. However, some drugs are used to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, impulsive urges, and substance cravings. You can find suitable medication from Shifa4U online.
● Medications like mood stabilizers or antipsychotics