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Can You Be Bipolar And Borderline

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Can You Have Bipolar Disorder Borderline Personality? |Heres Why It Matters

Another factor that can be useful in separating these diagnoses involves onset. The average age of bipolar onset is 18 years of age, which means that children can show signs of the disorder early in life, and perhaps may have expressed prodromal symptoms prior to a complete constellation of symptoms that meet DSM-5 criteria in adult life. There is no average age of borderline onset per se in fact, the longstanding nature of this disorder of character means that a diagnosis requires active and persistent symptoms well into adult life. Certainly, some adolescents can demonstrate borderline traits that may eventually coalesce into a borderline diagnosis, but this is not in itself a reliable predictor for the diagnosis in later life. Mood instability in bipolar disorder, however, can often be traced to childhood, especially if noticeably triggered by adolescent hormonal changes and does not stabilize into early adulthood.

Doctors may also consider atypical antipsychotic medication if there is no clear differentiation of borderline and bipolar symptoms, especially if evidence of psychosis is suspected. While it may be true that the pharmacological treatment of borderline personality is generally more complicated than that of bipolar disorder, a clearer diagnostic picture can assist physicians in opening a wider array of treatment options for these disorders, whether they may be distinct or co-occurring.


Are Bipolar And Borderline Personality Disorder Related

Although it is not yet clear-cut, research has not found a strong relationship between BPD and bipolar disorder. There is some evidence that people with BPD are diagnosed with bipolar disorder at higher rates than individuals with other personality disorders.

One study found that about 20% of people with BPD are also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Only about 10% of people with other personality disorders also have a bipolar disorder diagnosis.

Another study looked at people diagnosed with both BPD and bipolar disorder within a 10-year timeframe. The results showed that the disorders appear to be completely independent. The study’s authors stressed that it’s extremely important to treat each disorder individually for the best chance of symptom relief.

Differentiating Between Borderline Personality Disorder And Bipolar Disorder

While borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder do share symptomatology, there are important features that can help clarify diagnosis:

Duration of Mood Disturbances

People with borderline personality disorder can experience profound mood volatility, with moods shifting on a day-to-day basis, often in response to environmental factors. People with bipolar disorder, however, have prolonged episodes of mania, hypomania, and depression and do not experience the day-to-day or minute-to-minute changes so often present for people with borderline personality disorder. As Dr. Allen points out, There is absolutely not one bit of credible scientific evidence that short-duration mood swings are in any way related to bipolar disorder. Additionally, while bipolar mood episodes can be prolonged, they are typically not ever-present people with bipolar disorder can have periods of wellness lasting weeks, months, or even years while people with borderline personality disorder typically have pervasive symptoms.

Sleep Patterns

Family History

Both bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder appear to run in families. The nature of mental health disorders present within ones family can provide important diagnostic clues.

Relationship Patterns

Self-Harm and Suicidality


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When To See A Doctor For Borderline Personality Disorder Or Bipolar Disorder

Having occasional mood swings and feelings of sadness or depression is a normal part of life, but if you begin to have these symptoms or any of the symptoms of BPD or bipolar disorder on a regular basis, then it may be time to see a doctor. Because the symptoms of BPD and bipolar disorder overlap with other mental illnesses like anxiety, its important that a mental health professional checks out your symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis.

Borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder that go untreated can make life really hard. Psychiatrists and psychologists are trained to help people with these disorders have a higher quality of life, so its always best to seek medical advice if you think you have one of these disorders.

In addition, people with bipolar disorder or BPD who are having suicidal thoughts or behaviors should seek immediate medical attention and go to the emergency room. Not seeking help could result in self-harm or the harm of another.

How Do You Diagnose Bipolar Disorder Or Borderline Personality Disorder

Are Bipolar And Bpd The Same

If you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of a mood or personality disorder, the best next step to getting better is to make an appointment with a psychiatrist for diagnostic assessment.

In addition to sharing historical experiences, feelings, and thoughts with a good clinician, some patients may be referred for formal psychological testing for diagnostic purposes. There are psychometrically normed instruments, like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, that diagnostic professionals can use to detect traits of a personality disorder, and there are similar instruments that can help a professional determine if someone has ever had a manic episode even if that person is not currently symptomatic. Test results can be useful, but developing a trusting relationship with a skilled diagnostic psychiatrist is the best way to arrive at a good understanding of what someone may be experiencing and tools to help them get better.

A person can be diagnosed with both concurrently. Among patients who are in inpatient hospital settings, 40 percent of patients with mood disorders have co-occurring borderline personality disorder. The best predictor for recovering from a mood or thought disorder is having a strong social support network. Having an untreated borderline personality disorder diagnosis can make it difficult to maintain a strong support network, and that may increase your risk of symptomatic episodes escalating to crisis situations that require hospitalization.

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Living With Borderline Personality And Bipolar Disorder: What To Do

Being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder can cause any number of different reactions in people, ranging from fear and shame to relief and hope. Being diagnosed with two psychiatric disorders, however, can feel completely overwhelming.

The co-occurring diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder is not unusual, since many of the symptoms for both disorders present in similar ways. It is also not entirely uncommon for BPD patients to be misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and vice versa due to these overlapping symptoms. With rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder, especially, symptoms can manifest in strikingly similar ways to those in people with BPD.

While Bipolar Disorder is considered a mood disorder and BPD a personality disorder, they do share traits that can be effectively managed through the same kind of therapeutic approach. Rather than getting hung up on the stigma of being diagnosed with two different psychiatric disorders, patients should focus on the good news: with proper medications and therapy, symptoms of both BPD and Bipolar Disorder can recede significantly, allowing for a better quality of life.

How Often Do Moods Change

Mood changes can be common in borderline personality disorder since people with this condition have very unstable emotions. However, mood swings are more likely to happen without warning- often lasting less than a day and not related to any specific event. In bipolar disorder, mood swings are more likely to follow a pattern or be triggered by something.

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What Are The Common Symptoms Of Bpd And Bipolar Disorder

Both bipolar disorder and Borderline Personality disorders involve extreme mood swings that may not be relevant to the ongoing events. The similarities of symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis. Family history is a common element between bipolar disorder vs borderline personality disorder. Information about the same can help mental health professionals diagnose the condition.

Misdiagnosis of BPD as bipolar disorder is Type 2 is not rare. Overlapping of common symptoms is a significant cause of such misdiagnosis. There are several similarities of symptoms as follows:

  • Intense emotions
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Dramatic mood swings are common characteristics of bipolar disorder vs borderline personality disorder. These may lead to confusion and misdiagnosis. AlthoughBorderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolar share some symptoms like extreme emotions and impulsive actions, bipolar disorder is also associated with chaotic relationships, a feature absent in BPD.

    One has to look at all symptoms and the whole pattern of issues to avoid confusion between Borderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolardisorder. Borderline Personality Disorder satisfies the criteria of several other mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. Biological, social, and psychological pathways may result in overlapping symptoms between Borderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolar disorder. Visit to know more details on the same.

    Dual Disorders: My Experience With Bipolar And Borderline Personality Disorders

    Bipolar vs Borderline Personality Disorder How to tell the difference

    When I first started writing for International Bipolar Foundation, it was a coming out of sorts about my mental illness. I was open about it with the people in my life, on social media and on my own blog, but it wasnt until I started writing for IBPF that, if you Google searched my name, you would find information about my bipolar disorder. Potential employers who did would see the articles I had written and know about my mental illness. They might choose not to hire me because of it. I decided I wanted to write anyway because I enjoy it, because it makes me feel emotionally brave and because I want to help fight the stigma. I love the community here and reading the comments people leave on my articles. This article is kind of my second coming out. I want to tell you about being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in addition to bipolar disorder.

    I did not take the borderline diagnosis nearly as well. This is how it happened:

    I do not fit the criteria for borderline perfectly and its difficult to parse apart whats borderline, whats bipolar and whats just my semi-neurotic self. Some professionals dont even believe borderline is a real disorder and believe its more of a catch-all diagnosis for patients who dont respond correctly to treatment or who have a few characteristics in common. If you do not know the DSM criteria for borderline, here are the main descriptions:

    Read the rest of Kaits posts here.

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    Bipolar Vs Borderline Personality Disorder: Treatment

    One of the most significant differences between bipolar and borderline personality disorder is treatment. The most important part of bipolar treatment is medication, followed by psychotherapy. BPD treatment, on the other hand, focuses on psychotherapy, not medication. Sometimes antidepressant drugs and mood stabilizers are prescribed based on specific target symptoms, but medication for BPD is often used as a last resort. The type of psychotherapy used to treat both disorders also varies. Bipolar disorder patients respond best to traditional therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, while BPD patients tend to respond better to Dialectical Behavior Therapy. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy model is rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but specifically addresses the needs of patients with borderline personality disorder, especially those who tend to self harm or have suicidal ideation. The focus is on building positive relationships, acceptance and emotional control.

    In addition to psychotherapy and pharmaceutical medications, some people have successfully eased their bipolar and borderline personality disorder symptoms with holistic treatments, such as yoga, acupuncture, meditation and herbal/natural supplements. These types of treatments help people with either disorder learn how to decompress from stress, relax and feel centered. They promote a sense of mindfulness that can help them better tackle tough times and cope with emotional issues in a healthier way.

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    There are a few symptoms that overlap in both bipolar mood disorder and borderline personality disorder. By not taking all symptoms into considerations, it can be easy to be misdiagnosed by a Psychiatric Doctor. When you hear the word bipolar, most people immediately think it is someone who can be fine happy go lucky one minute and then angry at the world the next, when in all reality that is a stereotype and more like Borderline Personality Disorder instead. Bipolar has been diagnosed as borderline and vice versa for decades due to symptoms of mood swings, impulsivity, parasuicidal, manic episodes, genetics, course of illness, treatment response, for some of them not being present, not stated, or did not take into consideration of the present patients history. A depressive disorder or a personality disorder can change into bipolar disorder in a years time due to the manic episodes or rapid cycling of the moods.

    In bipolar and borderline personality disorders there are several different stages of depression, some unstable interpersonal relationships, anger issues, and impulsivity that seem similar in both disorders that can look as if one may have just one of the diagnosis. For a better diagnosis a psychiatrist at hand would consider any childhood sexual abuse, fear of abandonment, identity disturbances, recurrent suicidal thoughts, self-mutilating behavior, or dissociative symptoms when considering a diagnosis.

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    How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosed

    When you speak to a doctor or mental health professional about your mental health symptoms, they may use a diagnostic tool called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders which is currently in its fifth edition and also called the DSM-5. According to the , there is a list of nine common symptoms of BPD. If you experience five of them, you may be diagnosed with the disorder. Here are the nine common symptoms:

    • Chronic feelings of emptiness
    • Unstable emotions including sadness, irritability, and anxiety
    • Fear and avoidance of abandonment, whether real or imagined
    • Unstable self-image or a skewed sense of self
    • Impulsivity causing risky or reckless behaviors
    • Inappropriate and intense bursts of anger
    • Unstable or contentious personal relationships
    • Suicidal threats, behavior, or self-harm
    • Paranoia or dissociative episodes

    What Are The Key Things To Be Taken Care Of While Doing A Diagnosis

    Bipolar vs Borderline Personality Disorder

    When diagnosing either borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder, it is important to rule out other potential causes of symptoms. Like thyroid problems, head injury, alcohol or drug abuse, and medications. It is also important to differentiate between symptoms that occur only during depressive or manic episodes.

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    Characteristics Of Borderline Personality Disorder

    Borderline Personality Disorder has a range of characteristics that are centered around an individuals difficulty with regulating their emotions.

    People diagnosed with BPD experience persistent, day-to-day emotional symptoms that can impact everyday life.

    They will experience lesser control of their impulses and struggle to manage their interpersonal relationships.

    Various life experiences, such as childhood trauma, can cause borderline personality disorder. Traumatic experiences in someones younger life, such as abuse, , and neglect are two of the key triggers that can lead to BPD.

    Individuals with BPD suffer with Impulse Control Disorder, which according to American Addiction Centers is a condition in which a person has trouble controlling emotions or behaviors. Often, the behaviors violate the rights of others or conflict with societal norms and the law.

    These uncontrollable overreactions and creations of conflict, where someone struggles with their emotional regulation, are one of the common symptoms of BPD.

    Their chronic feelings of loneliness and reactive behavior can be so severe that they result in and/or substance abuse.

    Key symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:

  • Impulsive behavior
  • Chaotic and unstable relationships
  • Bpd symptoms of mood instability and a changeable emotional state will present in varying degrees from person to person, but the fact this is a disorder, means it will seriously impact the individuals quality of life.

    Differences Between Bipolar Mood Disorder And Borderline Personality Disorder

    Many psychologists conform to the DSM, otherwise known as the bible of mental disorders it gives the guidelines to diagnosis for each mental disorder. But there are still psychologists out there that like to perform their own diagnosis from other past patient histories. The difficulties of being misdiagnosed with a psychiatric mental disorder could lead to devastating outcome for some people. Not all mental disorders require the same treatment. Some require medication, others require psychotherapy, while others require psychotherapy with medication. With an inappropriate diagnosis you can be doing more harm than good for yourself. As in having to take medication that is not going to help you or sitting through long sessions of psychotherapy. Therefore, needing to understand the differences between bipolar mood disorder and borderline personality disorder is significant so the correct treatment can be received.

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    Borderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolar: Is Bpd Worse

    Understanding and even distinguishing between Borderline Personality Disorder vs Bipolar Disorder can be difficult because of the crossover in the related symptoms.

    Both of these mental health conditions can cause depression, drive impulsive behavior, and create outsized or unwarranted emotional responses in people living with either of the disorders.

    Its important however, to know the difference between these two conditions to be able to answer the question, is BPD worse than Bipolar?

    Relationships & Borderline Personality Disorder

    How to Spot the 9 Traits of Borderline Personality Disorder

    Due to their impulsiveness, young people with BPD tend to change jobs frequently and abruptly cut ties to people they are close to, the young woman with BPD explains in Elite Daily. We also have intense and sudden mood changes, and we have severe difficulty regulating our emotions. Unintentionally, we tend to blame others when we make a mistake, which causes us to be manipulative and cruel to those we care about.

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    Patients With Borderline Personality Disorder And Bipolar Disorder: A Descriptive And Comparative Study

    Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 March 2020

    Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA
    Caroline Balling
    Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA
    Iwona Chelminski
    Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA
    Kristy Dalrymple
    Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown Medical School, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA

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