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Borderline Personality Disorder vs. Bipolar Disorder

Man thinking about the differences when it comes to borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder while looking in the mirror

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD) have similar symptoms, but they’re entirely different conditions that require unique treatments. Diagnosing either is difficult. Recent studies have suggested a large percentage of bipolar patients are misdiagnosed initially, and many remain misdiagnosed for long periods. Misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences.

If you’re in The Sunshine State and struggling with a mental health disorder, you may be worried about a misdiagnosis. Fortunately, Honey Lake Clinic’s borderline personality and bipolar disorders treatment center in Florida has an experienced and knowledgeable team that is well-versed in everything about borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder. Contact our team online or call 888.428.0562 to learn more about bipolar disorder vs. BPD and to find the best treatment for you.

About Borderline Personality Disorder

People who struggle with borderline personality disorder have severe difficulties in regulating their emotions, which often leads to mood swings, impulsiveness, and unstable personal relationships. In addition to destructive mood swings, BPD patients typically have a very low sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, whether the abandonment is real or imagined
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  • Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging—e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, or binge eating
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  • Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood—e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger—e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, or recurrent physical fights
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

When it comes to bipolar disorder vs. borderline personality disorder, the crucial point to remember is that people with BPD do not experience the same kind of highs and lows as those with bipolar disorder. While those with bipolar disorder alternate between manic and depressive episodes, BPD patients are more likely to have intense emotional reactions triggered by external events or stressors.

About Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder shares many of these symptoms. However, the primary defining factor of bipolar disorder involves extreme highs and lows in mood. High points are called mania or euphoria, which involves excitement, extremely high energy, and grandiosity. Low points are the opposite, characterized by days of deep depression and fatigue, with an inability to focus or be productive. A bipolar person will go from being manic to feeling completely hopeless and empty.

When differentiating the two conditions and thinking about BPD vs. bipolar disorder, it’s essential to look at the duration and intensity of mood episodes. BPD patients may experience intense emotions for a few hours or days, while bipolar disorder patients will have prolonged periods of highs or lows that can last weeks or even months.

Get a Proper Diagnosis and Effective Mental Health Treatment at Honey Lake Clinic

A proper and speedy diagnosis is critical to addressing both bipolar and borderline personality disorder. Misdiagnosis can result in worsened symptoms and complications. Because self-harm and suicide are legitimate concerns—misdiagnosis can be deadly. But there’s good news: Whether you’re dealing with bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, you can get better and lead a healthier, happier, and more successful life.

At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatric specialists can guide you to an accurate diagnosis and start you on the path to health. Our team understands that effective treatment requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach involving healing your mind, body, and spirit. We are here to offer hope and provide answers for you. We can guide you to an accurate diagnosis and start you on a brighter tomorrow. Contact our team online or call 888.428.0562 to learn more.