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Borderline Personality Disorder vs. Bipolar Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder vs. Bipolar Disorder 

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder have similar symptoms, but they’re completely different conditions which require their own 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 of time. Misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences.

Borderline Personality Disorder

People who suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD) 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.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

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 persistent 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, binge eating)
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or 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, recurrent physical fights)
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder shares many of these symptoms. However, the major defining factor of bipolar disorder involves extreme highs and lows in mood. High points are called mania or euphoria, which involves feelings of 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.

A Proper Diagnosis and An Effective Treatment Plan

A proper and speedy diagnosis is key to addressing both bipolar and borderline personality disorder. Misdiagnosis can result in a 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 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. The team at Honey Lake Clinic understands that effective treatment requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach, involving healing of 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 the path to a brighter tomorrow.

Your healthier, happier and more hopeful future can start today with a simple phone call. Honey Lake Clinic (888) 837-6577 Email or Visit