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7 Differences Between Bipolar Disorder and A Borderline Personality Disorder

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are sometimes difficult to differentiate. It might be confusing since they both involve behaviors that are hard to understand. They have many similar symptoms, but we'll look at the most significant differences between the disorders.

Before we get into the differences, it's important to mention that it is possible to be diagnosed with both borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.

What are the main differences?

1. Low self-esteem or Egotistical

A borderline personality disorder is associated with poor self-esteem. Opposite of that being self-absorbed, bringing attention to oneself, and assuming one is superior to others is a characteristic of bipolar disorder.

2. Fear of abandonment in BPD

BPD is characterized by a pattern of interpersonal interaction, self-image, and fear of abandonment. People with borderline personality disorder are afraid of being abandoned, and with that, they will misunderstand everyday events as rejection. Someone with BPD may think that if a friend does not answer their text message, the friend no longer likes them. With bipolar disorder, this is not the case.

3. The duration of mood swings

Bipolar disorder is defined by recurrent periods of sadness and mania that can last anywhere from a few days to many months. In BPD, mood changes are often short-lived. They might only last a few hours at a time.

4. The causes of mood swings

Exaggerated mood swings and impulsivity are characteristics of both disorders. Mood swings in BPD, on the other hand, are frequently triggered by an external stressor, such as a discussion with a loved one. Not only do people with BPD have mood swings, but they also have significant changes in their self-image, relationships, and behavior. BPD causes people to have intense emotional reactions to stressful life situations and might harm themselves. Mood fluctuations in bipolar disorder can happen out of nowhere.

5. The elevated mood in bipolar disorder

The mood shifts of BPD rarely involve moments of high joy. The mood shift is usually from being upset to being OK, rather than from being upset to being in a high or elevated mood, which is the case with bipolar disorder.

6. BPD often has additional mental conditions

People who have borderline personality disorder are more prone to suffer from other mental conditions. Addictions, eating disorders, body image issues, and anxiety are common concerns for someone with BPD. They are also more likely than those with bipolar disorder to have experienced childhood trauma.

7. Bipolar disorder has Manic episodes

A manic episode is a state of mind in which someone can talk rapidly, sleep very little, and be hyperactive. It's a drastic shift in mood and cognition that might cause problems at school, work, or at home. The ability of the brain to control dopamine and other neurotransmitters appears to be affected by this disorder which is not the case for someone with BPD.

What are the causes of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder?

Bipolar Disorders

The precise nature of bipolar disorder is unknown. There is significant evidence that this condition has a hereditary component that raises the likelihood of developing it. High-stress periods and traumatic experiences can also raise the risk of developing this disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Several causes can develop a borderline personality disorder, such as frequent physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, lack of a consistent/loving caregiver, and severe criticism. BPD is a disorder that runs in families. However, it is not a hereditary chemical compound that has a significant impact. It runs in families since a child frequently imitates a parent's behavior. When the parent is suffering from BPD, it results in a cycle of poor parent-child connection.

The difference in treatment for someone with bipolar disorder and a borderline personality disorder

Bipolar disorder

To treat bipolar disorder mood-stabilizing drugs are used with psychotherapy to help with coping mechanisms and biofeedback treatment is used to moderate mood fluctuations.

Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD was once assumed to be incurable, however, therapies such as schema therapy, emotion regulation therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy are now available and have the best results.


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