Bipolar Disorder vs Borderline Personality Disorder: What’s the difference?

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People often confuse Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. Here are the major distinctions between the two:

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is classified as a mood disorder. A key indicator is mania. Mania is an abnormally-elevated, expansive or irritable mood state. Severe depression often follows a mania. Treatment for Bipolar disorder includes medication, CBT therapy and social rhythm therapy.

Causes for Mania:

  • Poor sleep
  • Increased stress
  • Medication
  • Illicit drug use

Symptoms of Mania:

  • Increased self-esteem/grandiosity, restlessness, decreased need for sleep, poor judgement and insight
  • Hypersexuality, impulsivity, racing thoughts and pressured speech
  • Increased energy that can be very goal or task oriented
  • High risk behaviors such as sexual promiscuity, increased spending and substance use

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is classified as a personality disorder. A key indicator is a lack of a sense of self or self- identity. There is usually an underlying history of complex, developmental or single event trauma. Examples of trauma may be sexual, physical, emotional and verbal abuse. Traumatic loss and abandonment can also contribute to BPD. Treatment for BPD includes Dialectic Behavioral therapy, insight-oriented therapy and medications for depression, anxiety, impulsivity and mood stabilization.

Causes for BPD:

The causes for BPD aren’t fully understood. Environmental factors and history of child abuse or neglect can contribute to the cause of BPD, along with genetics and brain abnormalities. Personality disorders may be inherited or associated with other mental health disorders.

Symptoms of BPD:

  • Rigid black and white thinking
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Anger/rage outbursts
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Self-harm
  • Impulsive behavior/self sabotaging
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Getting help

It is important to understand that a person with Bipolar Disorder or BPD may not exhibit all of these symptoms. Seeking professional help is always the best option to learn how to manage living with Bipolar Disorder or BPD. Increasing awareness and improved insight permits optimal growth and healing. Clear Recovery Center understands that every individual has their own unique journey. We individualize treatment and mental health care based on the needs and preferences of clients.

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