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What It’s Like To Have Bpd And Bipolar

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Do You Have A Codependent Personality

Narcissistic personality disorder People have an inflated sense of self, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.

Avoidant personality disorder People have feelings of inadequacy and are constantly afraid that others will criticize them, so they avoid situations and interactions with others.

Dependent personality disorder People have a strong need to be taken care of and have a fear of losing support from others.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder People are preoccupied with control and perfectionism and often neglect relationships in favor of orderliness.

Reduce Your Emotional Vulnerability

You’re more likely to experience negative emotions when you’re run down and under stress. That’s why it’s very important to take care of your physical and mental well-being.

Take care of yourself by:

  • Avoid mood-altering drugs
  • Eating a balanced, nutritious diet
  • Getting plenty of quality sleep
  • Exercising regularly
  • Practicing relaxation techniques

Characteristics Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by extreme shifts in someone’s mood, where they will experience sudden, dramatic changes in their state of mind. 

Genetic factors and changes to the brain structure, and its chemicals, are thought to be the cause of Bipolar Disorder. 

There is a 13% chance you will develop  Bipolar Disorder, if a close family member has the disorder.

These mood disorders can range from extreme highs, , to extreme lows, . 

How Is Bipolar Disorder Treated

Once properly diagnosed, bipolar disorder can be extremely well-managed, Cairns says. “You probably know someone who’s bipolar and you don’t even know it,” she says of treatment success.

Bipolar disorder is usually treated with a combination of medications and talk therapy. Following a regular sleep routine is also crucial, Cairns says. Once a sleep cycle is thrown off schedule, it can trigger symptoms and lead to a depressive or manic state, she says—which can make traveling across time zones risky for people with bipolar disorder.

Like many health conditions—physical and mental—having a support team is also important. People with bipolar disorder who successfully manage their condition often count on friends, family, a significant other, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist, Cairns says.

RELATED: 10 Tips for Treating Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder Is A Mood Disorder And Borderline Personality Disorder Is A Personality Disorder

173 best BPD and other Personality Disorders images on ...

A common feature of bipolar disorder is recurring episodes of depression. Many people with bipolar disorder present a lot like people with unipolar depression, or major depressive disorder: they feel sad, lose interest in activities, feel worthless, have trouble concentrating, etc. To be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you must also have experienced at least one episode of mania. An episode of mania is characterized by an elevated mood, heightened energy without the need to sleep, racing and/or grandiose thoughts, and impulsive behavior. For most people with a bipolar diagnosis, about 75 percent of the time they are experiencing disability from the illness, they are in depressive episodes.; however, having a history of one manic episode ever means that a person has bipolar illness even if the person is currently depressed.

Borderline personality disorder is not a mood disorder. It is classified as a personality disorder. The symptoms of borderline personality disorder can result in mood problems, but the illness is not defined by changes in mood. The symptoms of borderline personality disorder are relational.

However, for individuals with bipolar disorder, for the most part, there is little causal relationship between interactions with other people and the onset of a mood episode. But with borderline personality disorder, interactions with other people or expectations about relationships are what drive the illness and result in mood and anxiety problems.

Bipolar Disorder Vs Bpd

One of the most common misdiagnoses for BPD is bipolar disorder. Both conditions have episodes of mood instability. When you have bipolar disorder, your mood may shift from depression to mania, in which you experience elation, elevated energy levels and a decreased need for sleep.

Mood swings are also common in BPD, but they are usually more short-lived. In bipolar disorder, mood changes can last for days or weeks, but they don’t usually last that long in BPD. Episodes of mania or elation don’t usually occur in BPD. Instead, mood swings usually range from feeling fine to feeling full of rage or other negative emotions.

An Oft Misdiagnosed Disorder

Unfortunately, BPD is frequently overlooked or misdiagnosed — all too often as bipolar disorder due to the fact that both conditions involve mood instability. “The difference,” Hoffman said, “is that in bipolar disorder, the mood instability is caused by a pattern of sleep disturbance and then a high level of energy. With people with , you can track the mood instability to occurring around some incident that occurred in the relationship.”

Additionally, the mood swings in people with bipolar and people with BPD typically differ in duration. “ highs or lows might last for weeks or months,” Hoffman stated. “In someone with borderline personality disorder, the highs and lows can change over dinner.”

“ highs or lows might last for weeks or months. In someone with borderline personality disorder, the highs and lows can change over dinner.”

To confuse things further, people with BPD also usually suffer from additional mental illnesses. Major depressive disorder occurs in more than 80% of people with BPD; anxiety disorders occur in about 90%; PTSD in 26%; bulimia in 26%; anorexia nervosa in 21%; and bipolar in 10%. And then there’s substance abuse. One study found that two-thirds of BPD patients seriously abused alcohol, street drugs and/or prescribed drugs — Dr. Robert Friedel explained in “Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified” that many report they do this to temporarily relieve severe emotional pain.

What An Expert Says About Bpd

I had the opportunity to speak with Professor Andrew Chanen, director of clinical programs and services at youth mental health organisation Orygen, about the common issue of BPD remaining undiagnosed, even misdiagnosed.

Professor Chanen’s research and practice focuses on prevention and early intervention for severe mental disorders. As the president of the International Society of the Study of Personality Disorders, Professor Chanen spoke about the difficulties that people with BPD face when it comes to their health and social wellness.

“The main reason BPD goes undiagnosed is stigma and discrimination,” he said.

“I’ve been working in this area for over two decades, and I think there is a definite shift in attitudes among young clinicians.

“I’m quite hopeful that we are making progress in changing beliefs and attitudes among the professions, but it is slow progress.”

Living with BPD affected me in many ways as a young person. Not only having my emotional issues overlooked, but physical, situational and relational issues overlooked due to the emotionally intense way that I may have handled the situation.

Being treated as a hypochondriac or histrionic often ends up in negligence from people who don’t understand the condition.

Read more

How Do You Diagnose Bipolar Disorder Or Borderline Personality Disorder

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.

Explosive Feelings Of Anger

Many people with BPD struggle with intense anger and a short temper. This makes it difficult for them to feel in control of their emotions once they have been provoked. They can quickly fill with rage, though this anger may not always be outwardly directed and can result in self-harm. Sometimes the person might be angry at themselves and not at anyone or anything else.

Getting The Right Diagnosis

Mental health issues are complicated, and getting the right diagnosis can be a challenge. When you’re experiencing distressing mental health issues, finding the right diagnosis is important in getting the right treatment for your needs. When you’re seeking help with a mental health issue, you can start by talking to your regular doctor. Tell them what you’ve experienced, and make an effort to mention each of your symptoms and a rough timeline of when they occur. Mental health issues can have unique but overlapping sets of symptoms. A diagnosis may also require experiencing these symptoms for a certain amount of time.

It may help to make a note of your symptoms and the timeline that they occur before you see your doctor. Your doctor may suggest prescribing medication to see if that clears up your symptoms. You can also request more tests to explore the problem further if they don’t suggest ordering tests themselves. It’s important to go through a physical exam and lab tests, even though you’re looking for a mental health diagnosis. There are diseases, disorders, and deficiencies that can cause some mental health symptoms that can be found in these tests. Getting a diagnosis like bipolar or borderline personality disorder will mean ruling out other possibilities.

Diagnosedwith Bpd And Bpd

So, therefore if you do struggle with bipolar disorder if your not getting help or treatment and your manic BPD cannot be diagnosed during that time. Now I assume that it can’t be diagnosed during that time because it’s really difficult to tell what symptoms are coming from what and so once everything is being treated and your getting help then we can see where the symptoms lie and what proper diagnosis may need to be given. These two diagnoses do often get confused with one another because they have a lot of symptomatic overlap especially when it comes to mood lability and impulsivity. and just as a reminder, I’m going to write a little bit about what borderline personality disorder is and I will, while I write about this I’m going to write about how it differentiates itself from bipolar disorder.

What It’s Like To Live With Borderline Personality Disorder


I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the age of 14. Relationships feel impossible, my brain never stops running and my stress is magnified.

I find it very difficult to distinguish who I actually am and who my mental illness wants me to be.

For the first time in my life, I’m sharing my story of borderline personality disorder with the public.

I want to relate to those who suffer with me, educate those who misjudge me and help those who want to love me.

How I’m Coping Now

I feel grateful for the treatment I’ve received, but BPD is still something I live with every day.

I want to tell people struggling with the roller-coaster that is BPD that with dedication to yourself and your wellness comes an easier relationship to your internal world.

There are two sides of the borderline coin. With all the pain comes immense amounts of joy.

While there are depths of despair, our compassion and our empathy is boundless. With intensity comes passion and a vast capacity for love and hope.

If withstanding suffering is what I must do to experience the depth of big, big love then I’ll take it every single time.

It’s my test, just as it is my gift.

Getting A Proper Diagnosis Is Key

Diagnosing illness isn’t easy. There’s usually no lab test, physical indication, or quantitative measurement that can distinguish one illness from another, and often no magic bullet that can ensure effective treatment. Clinicians are dependent on a description of symptoms and patterns over time to make a diagnosis and these often appear similar even when the underlying illness is very different.

One example of this difficulty is in the incidence of borderline disorder being misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder. Both are characterized by impulsive behavior, mood swings, and thinking but have different causes and different treatments. Only an experienced medical professional can make the right diagnosis and determine appropriate treatment, but patients and their families can help by paying to their own thoughts and feelings and describing them accurately.

The key difference between bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder is that bipolar disorder is a mood disorder and borderline personality disorder, as its name implies, is a personality disorder.

Mood disorders are characterized by drastic changes in mood that may come on suddenly or randomly without an apparent trigger. Depression is the most common mood disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment

There is not a Food and Drug Administration approved medication for the treatment of borderline personality disorder.

However, some medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, may be prescribed to treat some of the symptoms.

Other treatment approaches include one-on-one counseling and group therapy.

Treatment methods like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavior Therapy are also useful in helping patients with BPD express themselves and communicate with family and friends.

The Usefulness Of Diagnosis

Patients do not want labels , but they are often well aware that diagnosing has the potential tobe helpful.Reference Nehls3 The existing classification systems are far from perfect in defininghomogeneous groups with shared underlying pathology and similar response totreatment, but they serve important functions, such as aiding communicationbetween clinicians, providing access to treatments that can lead to improvedoutcome and guiding research.

We often think participating in research is a chore for our patients, but I have met very few other groups as keen on research as some of my patients withBPD. A well-known illustration of what intelligent experimentation based on afar-from-perfect classification system can achieve comes from the story ofJames Lind. In 1747, he found that two oranges and one lemon a day were ‘themost effectual remedies’ for scurvy. This had made preventive interventionpossible centuries before Albert Szent-Gyorgyi and Charles Glen King developeda more complete understanding of scurvy at a biochemical level.

This choice of either neglecting a sizeable group of patients on the one sideand the harm through medicalising ‘normal’ emotional suffering, overdiagnosisand stigma on the other side is a false dichotomy: compassion and humanitycombined with a scientific approach, which is the true medical approach, shouldmean staying clear of both.

How Can I Get Help If I Think I Have Bpd

The first step to get help is to speak to your GP.

Your GP will look at different things when deciding how best to help you. So, it can help to keep a record of your symptoms. This can help you and your GP to understand what difficulties you are facing. It may help if you keep a record of:

  • how distressed you feel,
  • any risks to yourself or other people, and
  • details of anything you have done to try and reduce your levels of anxiety and distress.

Your GP can’t diagnose BPD. Only a psychiatrist should make a formal diagnosis. A psychiatrist is part of the community mental health team . If your GP feels that you need more support they will refer you to the CMHT.

What happens if my GP refers me to the community mental health team ?

There may be a waiting list to see your CMHT. You can ask your GP, or contact the CMHT, about how long the waiting list is.

When you have your first appointment with the CMHT they will ask you questions to understand how your mental health is affecting you. They will talk to you about:

How will the CMHT decide if I have BPD?Psychiatrists use the following guidelines to decide if you have a mental disorder.

  • International Classification of Diseases , produced by the World Health Organisation .
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , produced by the American Psychiatric Association.

The guidelines tell your psychiatrist what to look for. They will diagnose you with BPD if you have at least five of the symptoms below.

How Can You Receive A Diagnosis With Both Conditions

Most people who have a dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and BPD receive one diagnosis before the other. That’s because the symptoms of one disorder can overlap and sometimes mask the other.

Bipolar disorder is often diagnosed first because symptoms can change. This makes it more difficult to detect BPD symptoms. With time and treatment for one disorder, the other may become clearer.

Pay a visit to your doctor and explain your symptoms if you think you’re showing signs of bipolar disorder and BPD. They’ll likely conduct an assessment to determine the nature and extent of your symptoms.

Your doctor will use the newest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to help them make a diagnosis. They’ll review each of your symptoms with you to see if they align with the other disorder.

Your doctor will also consider your mental health history. Often, this can provide insight that can help distinguish one disorder from the other. For example, both bipolar disorder and BPD tend to run in families. This means if you have a close relative with one or both of the disorders, you’re more likely to have them.

The treatments of bipolar disorder and BPD are different because each disorder causes different symptoms.

Bipolar disorder requires several types of treatment, including:

BPD is primarily treated with talk therapy — the same type of therapy that can help treat bipolar disorder. But your doctor may also suggest:

What Treatment Should I Get If I Am In Crisis

A mental health crisis is when you need urgent help. You may be feeling suicidal or wanting to self-harm. And you don’t think that you can use your normal coping strategies to stop yourself from acting on your feelings.

If you have a diagnosis of BPD but are not under the care of your local community mental health team , then you should speak to your GP. Your GP should:

  • assess the level of risk to yourself or others,
  • talk to you about previous mental health crises. And what skills you have used to cope with these,
  • help you to use these skills and focus on your current problems,
  • help you to identify changes which you can put in place to manage your current problems, and
  • offer you a follow-up appointment.

If you are already under the CMHT, or a specialist service, then you should have a care plan. The care plan should include a crisis plan that you can follow. Your crisis plan is written by you and your mental health team. It should include:

  • what triggers might lead to a mental health crisis,
  • self-management skills which you have used before and find helpful,
  • details of how to access help if the self-management skills aren’t helping. This should include a list of support numbers for out-of-hours teams and crisis teams.

Your doctor may think about offering you sedative medication. Sedatives can help you feel more relaxed. But your doctor should not give you sedatives for more than a week.

You can find more information about ‘Getting help in a crisis’ by clicking .

Bpd And Other Personality Disorders

What is borderline personality disorder ...

Many people with BPD also meet the criteria for a second personality disorder. Personality disorders that often co-occur with BPD include:

  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and BPD are all part of the “Cluster B” group of personality disorders. Overlapping traits include manipulative behaviors and impulsivity. Histrionics and borderlines both tend to engage in attention-seeking behavior and emotional displays that can quickly shift.

People who have both BPD and narcissistic personality disorder are typically very destructive when it comes to relationships. Extreme fear of rejection, intense emotional displays, lack of empathy for others, and manipulative behavior make interpersonal situations very difficult.

Schizotypal personality disorder traits that overlap with BPD include ideas of reference and paranoid ideation. Odd or eccentric behaviors and beliefs, and excessive social anxiety are characteristic of schizotypal individuals.

The Need For An Enlightened Medical Approach

Bipolar disorder affects roughly 1% of the population and BPD about 1-6%.Patients with pathological mood instability constitute a significant proportionof all patients with mental illness and it has been argued that directing moreof the research effort at this population would be a worthwhile change in psychiatry.It is important to listen to what this patient group has to say, so that amodel of help that is adapted to their needs can be designed.

The biomedical model has again come under attackincreasingly in recent times. It would be naive to thinkthat discrediting a medical explanation and help before considering thescientific evidence has no impact on how people affected bysevere mood instability see themselves and how they are perceived by healthcareworkers. Similarly, it would also be naive for psychiatryto respond with hubris, complacency or inaction. We can argue endlessly aboutthe nature of these phenomena or their putative aetiology; what will not goaway, unless we develop effective help, is the enormous suffering of peopleaffected by mood instability in themselves, or in those around them.

Dual Disorders: My Experience With Bipolar And Borderline Personality Disorders

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 wasn’t 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 it’s difficult to parse apart what’s borderline, what’s bipolar and what’s just my semi-neurotic self. Some professionals don’t even believe borderline is a real disorder and believe it’s more of a catch-all diagnosis for patients who don’t 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 Kait’s posts . 

Comparing Bipolar Disorder Vs Borderline Personality Disorder

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are two mental illnesses that can cause significant disability and disruption in someone’s life. Despite being commonly grouped together or even used interchangeably in movies, TV, and other pop culture references, they are two separate and distinct illnesses that have different diagnostic criteria and require different treatments. Find out more about how psychiatry distinguishes these two disorders and how families, treatment organizations and communities can help support individuals with these diagnoses.

Information For Carers Friends And Relatives

As a carer, friend or family member of someone living with borderline personality disorder , you might find that you need support.

How can I get support?

You can do the following.

  • Speak to your relative’s care team about a carer’s assessment.
  • Ask for a carer’s assessment from your local social services.
  • Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
  • Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.
  • Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself if your mental health is affecting your day-to-day life.

What is a carer’s assessment?A carer’s assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role.

To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.

How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.

How can I support the person I care for?

You can do the following.

How can learning about BPD help?Learning about BPD can help you to:

  • support the person who has BPD,
  • understand why they may act in certain ways, and perhaps take things less personally, and
  • become more aware of what situations make them more distressed.

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