Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and bipolar personality disorder are two types of mental health disorders that are almost the same. The two are similar enough that it can be difficult to tell them apart. The reason, both of these disorders have symptoms of impulsivity and mood swings.

However, if you examine more deeply, these two psychiatric disorders are different things. They also have different treatments too. Let’s understand the difference between the two through the following review!

Bipolar Disorder

This disorder is also known as manic depression. Bipolar disorder causes changes in mood, energy, and ability to function throughout the day. A person with this disease will experience symptoms, which are defined as periods of depression and mania that can last from days to months. 

Unlike borderline personality disorder, the mood swings of bipolar disorder are not triggered by interpersonal conflict, lasting for days to weeks or months. These mood swings can occur within minutes to hours. The episodes can also be accompanied by changes in sleep, energy, speech, and thinking

During periods of mania, symptoms of bipolar disorder may include:

  • A very happy or angry mood, and upset.
  • More energy and physical and mental activity than usual.
  • Talk more and faster
  • Sometimes I like to make big plans.
  • Often take risks.
  • Become more impulsive (substance abuse, sex, spending, etc.)
  • Lack of sleep, but not feeling tired.
  • While during periods of depression, symptoms may include:
  • Energy drop.
  • The sadness that never ends.
  • Less activity and energy.
  • Restless and irritable.
  • Impaired concentration and decision making.
  • Worried and anxious.
  • Not interested in activities they normally enjoy. 
  • Feelings of guilt and hopelessness; thoughts of suicide.
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns.

Most people with bipolar disorder need lifelong treatment to keep their condition under control. This usually includes medications such as mood stabilizers, and sometimes antipsychotics or antidepressants as well. Therapy can also help people with bipolar disorder understand it and develop skills to deal with it.

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Borderline Personality Disorder 

BPD is a type of personality disorder that causes people to feel, think, relate, and behave differently to people without the condition. People with BPD experience a continuous cycle of varying self-images, moods, and behaviors. This behavior is usually triggered by conflict in interactions with other people. 

People with borderline personality disorder will also experience overly strong emotional responses to upsetting life events and often try to hurt themselves. They often have tumultuous relationships with other people.

People with borderline personality disorder are also more likely to have other mental health problems as well. They are also more likely to experience some type of trauma as a child than people with bipolar disorder, even though the trauma itself does not cause borderline personality disorder. They often also have problems with addiction, eating disorders, body image, and anxiety.

The symptoms of BPD

People with BPD experience instability in their self-image, mood, and behavior. These symptoms can lead to impulsive actions and problems with interpersonal relationships. Well, the symptoms of BPD include:

  • Uncertainty about one’s role in the world.
  • Frequently changing interests and values.
  • The tendency to see things as either all good or all bad.
  • Changing opinions about other people quickly, for example, considers someone a friend one day and an enemy the next.
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family and friends, in which feelings alternate between closeness and love to hate and anger.
  • An unstable, distorted self-image or feeling of self.
  • Attempts to avoid imagined or real sources of neglect, for example, cut off communication with someone in anticipation of them breaking up.
  • Self-injurious behavior, such as cutting, burning, or overdose.
  • Difficulty trusting people, sometimes due to an irrational fear of their intentions.
  • Feelings of dissociation, such as feeling unreal, feeling disconnected from one’s body, and seeing oneself from outside the body.
  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide.
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior, such as unsafe sex, drug abuse, reckless driving, and excessive shopping.
  • Intense episodes of depression, anger, and anxiety.
  • Chronic feeling of emptiness.
  • Fear of being alone.

However, not everyone with BPD experiences all of these symptoms. Some people may have only a few minor symptoms, while others experience severe and frequent symptoms.

Long-term treatment is usually needed for people with borderline personality disorder. Treatment primarily involves certain forms of psychotherapy, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) which aims to help people manage impulses, feelings of depression or anger, and emotional oversensitivity to interactions with others. Medication is also sometimes used to help with these symptoms, although it is not always effective and is not considered the main focus of treatment in borderline personality disorder.