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Difference Between Bipolar And BPD, Causes, Risk Factors, Complications & Symptoms

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BPD vs Bipolar, both are both mood disorders involving intense mood swings and other symptoms. However, there are important differences between them. Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder characterized by periodic episodes of mania and depression, usually accompanied by changes in energy levels, sleep patterns, and activity level. BPD is a personality disorder characterized by instability in self-image, emotions, behaviors, and relationships with others.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: January 30, 2023

Difference Between Bipolar and BPD (BPD vs Bipolar Disorder)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder (BD) are both mental health conditions that can cause significant distress and difficulty in functioning. BPD is a personality disorder that is characterized by instability in relationships, mood, and self-image, as well as extreme and impulsive behavior. Bipolar disorder is an affective or mood disorder that involves extreme shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Bipolar disorder vs BPD (BPD disorder vs bipolar): These two disorders are often confused. They both have symptoms of impulsiveness and mood swings. However, they are different disorders and have other treatments. The borderline personality disorder (BPD) causes are not yet clear, but research suggests that genetics, brain structure, and function, and environmental, cultural, and social factors play a role, or may increase the risk of developing a borderline personality disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder vs Bipolar Disorder

The primary difference between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bipolar disorder (BD) is that BPD affects moods and behavior, while BD affects moods and energy levels. BPD is characterized by extreme shifts in mood, impulsivity, and unstable relationships, while BD is characterized by extreme shifts in energy, usually accompanied by changes in mood.

People with Bipolar Disorder often experience episodes of mania in which they feel an exaggerated sense of euphoria, irritability, or restlessness, and have increased energy or enthusiasm for tasks. These may be followed by episodes of depression, in which the person experiences a low or disordered mood or has difficulty concentrating or feeling pleasure. On the other hand, those with BPD may display what is referred to as ’emotional dysregulation’, characterized by unpredictable mood swings and impulsive behaviors.

BPD vs Bipolar Test

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are two different mental health conditions that require different types of treatment. In comparing Bipolar disorder vs BPD, Bipolar disorder is characterized by swings in moods, energy, and activity levels that usually consist of a period of elevated or irritable mood called ‘mania’ and a period of depression. Symptoms of BPD include intense fear of abandonment, rapidly shifting emotional states and a sense of inner emptiness.

Bipolar disorder can include psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions and is typically managed through mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and psychotherapy. On the other hand, BPD is often managed with psychotherapy and medications such as antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. Treatment for BPD involves understanding and working on the underlying issues that can contribute to the disorder, such as trauma, anxiety, stress, and other psychological issues.

BPD vs Bipolar Symptoms

The primary symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are elevated or irritable moods, increased energy levels, racing thoughts, and reckless behavior. It is also associated with periods of depression, which can include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and irritability. BPD symptoms include unstable feelings about self, unstable relationships with others, impulsive behaviors, and intense emotions. BPD involves more extreme mood swings than Bipolar Disorder, which generally last for minutes or hours without shifting in between.

Bipolar Disorder

Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder causes swings in mood, energy, and function throughout the day.

Bipolar disorder is defined by alternating 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 conflicts, which last for days to weeks or months rather than minutes to hours, and episodes are, by definition, accompanied by changes in sleep, energy, speech, and thinking.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, emotions, and behavior that impairs a person’s ability to function. People with BPD often struggle to regulate their emotions, leading to extreme behaviors such as acting impulsively, engaging in risky activities, displaying unstable relationships, and having difficulty with tasks such as setting and achieving goals. People with BPD also have intense emotions, particularly when faced with interpersonal conflicts.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, but several factors may be involved, such as:

  • Biological Differences: People with bipolar disorder appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Genetics: Bipolar disorder is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing bipolar disorder.

Risk Factors of Bipolar Disorder

Factors that may increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder or act as a trigger for the first episode include:

  • Having a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder
  • Periods of high stress, such as the death of a loved one or other traumatic event
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Complications From Bipolar Disorder

Left untreated, bipolar disorder can result in serious problems that affect every area of your life, such as:

  • Issues related to drug and alcohol use
  • Suicide or suicide attempts
  • Legal or financial problems
  • Damaged relationships
  • Poor work or school performance

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

During times of mania, symptoms might include:

  • An excessively happy or angry, irritated mood
  • More physical and mental energy and activity than normal
  • Racing thoughts and ideas
  • Talking more and faster
  • Making big plans
  • Risk-taking
  • Impulsiveness (substance abuse, sex, spending, etc.)
  • Less sleep, but no feeling of being tired
  • Poor judgment

During periods of depression, symptoms might include:

  • Drop-in energy
  • Lasting sadness
  • Less activity and energy
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • Worry and anxiety
  • No interest in favorite activities
  • Feelings of guilt and hopelessness; suicidal thoughts
  • Change in appetite or sleep patterns

Bipolar vs BPD Disorder

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are two mental health conditions that can have similar symptoms but require different treatments. While both disorders involve mood swings, Bipolar disorder consists of more distinct periods of mania and depression, while BPD is a continuous cycle of unstable moods. Additionally, while bipolar disorder can cause impulsive behaviors, in people with BPD impulsivity is more likely to involve self-destructive behaviors.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. 
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. 

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Treatment: Most people with bipolar disorder need lifelong treatment to keep their condition managed. This usually includes medicine — usually mood stabilizers, and sometimes also antipsychotics or antidepressants. Therapy can also help people with bipolar disorder understand it and develop skills to handle it.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder involves a longstanding pattern of abrupt, moment-to-moment swings — in moods, relationships, self-image, and behavior (in contrast to distinct episodes of mania or depression in people with bipolar disorder) that are usually triggered by conflicts in interactions with other people. People with borderline personality disorder can experience overly emotional responses to upsetting life events and often try to hurt themselves. They usually have chaotic relationships with people.

A borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feels about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life.
A borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feels about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life.

People with borderline personality disorder are more likely to have other mental health problems, too. They are also more likely to have had some trauma as a child than people with bipolar disorder, although trauma in itself does not cause borderline personality disorder. They often also can have problems with addictions, eating disorders, body image, and anxiety.

Symptoms: A person with a borderline personality disorder has trouble controlling their thoughts and managing their feelings and often has impulsive and reckless behavior. Here are the condition’s main symptoms:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid feeling abandoned
  • History of unstable, intense relationships
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Poor self-image
  • Impulsiveness (spending, sex, substance abuse, etc.)
  • Paranoia
  • Self-harm (e.g., cutting) or suicidal behavior
  • Mood swings involving anger and depression, usually in response to stressful events or relationships
  • Tendency to view people and situations as either “all good” or “all bad”
  • Problems managing anger and unpleasant emotions

Treatment: Long-term treatment is usually necessary for people with a borderline personality disorder. Treatment mainly involves specific forms of psychotherapy, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) aimed at helping people manage impulses (such as suicidal urges or tendencies to self-harm when they feel upset), feelings of distress or anger, and emotional oversensitivity to interactions with other people. Medications are also sometimes used to help with these symptoms, although they are not always effective and are not considered the main focus of treatment for borderline personality disorder. Sometimes, short hospital stays are also needed to manage times of crisis that involve threats to safety and well-being.

Is BPD Bipolar Disorder or Is Bipolar Disorder BPD?

Despite sharing some symptoms with bipolar disorder, BPD is a fundamentally distinct diagnosis. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, whereas BPD is a personality disorder. It can be difficult to treat BPD. In order to better care for persons with BPD and enhance their quality of life, research is always being conducted.

Bipolar vs BPD Test – Bipolar Disorder vs Borderline Personality

The main difference between Bipolar Disorder vs Borderline Personality lies in the presentation of mood swings and the force of impulsivity. People with Bipolar Disorder will have more distinct periods of mania and depression, while those with BPD experience a more continuous cycle of unstable moods. Additionally, people with BPD tend to display more self-destructive impulsivity than those with Bipolar Disorder.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental illness. It usually begins in your late teens or early 20s. More women have it than men. There’s no known cause, but it’s believed to be a combination of how your brain is built and the things you experience in life. For example, you may be prone to have it based on genes passed down through your family. However, something might happen that can trigger it, such as being abused or neglected.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness. It usually begins in your late teens or early 20s.

Difference Between Bipolar And BPD
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness. It usually begins in your late teens or early 20s.

When you have BPD, you have a hard time controlling your emotions. This can cause you to:

  • Take unnecessary risks
  • Have intense mood swings
  • Have bouts of anger, depression, or anxiety

You may find it difficult to:

  • Manage daily tasks at home
  • Perform at work
  • Maintain relationships

This can lead to things like divorce, separation from family and friends, and severe financial issues. BPD isn’t an isolated issue. If you have it, you are more likely to have other mental health challenges. You may experience anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and thoughts of suicide. Many cope by turning to drugs and alcohol, which can create more problems. Though there’s no apparent cure, the intensity of BPD may lessen with age and treatment.

Borderline Personality Disorder BPD Causes

Healthcare providers believe borderline personality disorder (BPD) results from a combination of genes and environmental factors. Causes of BPD include:

  • Abuse and Trauma: People who have been sexually, emotionally, or physically abused have a higher risk of BPD. Neglect, mistreatment, or separation from a parent also raises the risk.
  • Genetics: Borderline personality disorder runs in families. If you have a family history of BPD, you’re more likely to develop the condition.
  • Differences in the Brain: In people with BPD, the parts of the brain that control emotion and behavior don’t communicate properly. These problems affect the way the brain works.

Symptoms Of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) usually appear in the late teenage years or early adulthood. A troubling event or stressful experience can trigger symptoms or make them worse. Over time, symptoms usually decrease and may go away completely.

Some people have a handful of BPD symptoms, while others have many. Symptoms can range from manageable to very severe. Since BPD symptoms are similar to those of bipolar disorder, people sometimes confuse the two conditions. The most common signs of BPD include:

  • Frequent and intense mood swings: If you have BDP, you may experience sudden changes in how you feel about others, yourself, and the world around you. Irrational emotions — including uncontrollable anger, fear, anxiety, hatred, sadness, and love — change frequently and suddenly. You may be quick to lash out at others and have trouble calming down when you’re upset.
  • Fear of abandonment: It’s common for people with BPD to feel uncomfortable with being alone. They have an intense fear of being abandoned or rejected. They might track their loved ones’ whereabouts or stop them from leaving. Or they might push people away before getting too close to avoid rejection.
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships: People with BPD find it challenging to keep healthy personal relationships. Their friendships, marriages, and relationships with family members are often chaotic and unstable.
  • Impulsive and dangerous behavior: Episodes of reckless driving, fighting, gambling, substance abuse, and unsafe sexual activity are common among people with BPD. Self-destructive behavior can be difficult or impossible to control.
  • Self-harm: People with BPD may cut, burn or injure themselves (self-injury) or have suicidal thoughts. They have a distorted or unclear self-image and often feel guilty or ashamed. They also tend to sabotage their progress. For instance, they may fail a test on purpose, ruin relationships, or get fired from a job.
  • Depression: Many people with BPD feel sad, bored, disappointed, or “empty.” Feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common, too.
  • Paranoia: If you have BPD, you may worry that people don’t like you or want to spend time with you. People with BPD may feel confused, lose touch with reality or have “out-of-body” experiences.

BPD Racing Thoughts

A person with BPD may experience tremendous emotion and a complete lack of control, which may make them feel powerless. Even when a person may not want to, they may act out due to racing thoughts and strong emotions, this can be called bipolar lashing out.

BPD vs Bipolar Disorder: Differences Between BPD And Bipolar

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder can both present with symptoms that are similar, including impulsive conduct, powerful emotional reactions, and despair. This leads to confusion between the two conditions. However, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are two distinct conditions with various symptoms and available therapies.

Despite sharing some symptoms with bipolar disorder, BPD is a fundamentally distinct diagnosis. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, whereas BPD is a personality disorder. It can be difficult to treat BPD. In order to better care for persons with BPD and enhance their quality of life, research is always being conducted. It may take some time to discover the appropriate treatment and therapist, so it’s important to keep looking.

In general, bipolar illness sufferers can benefit greatly from a regimen of both medication and psychotherapy. Self-management and complementary medical practices are additional strategies that may help lessen symptoms and enhance general mental health. With the right care, people with bipolar disorder can frequently go for long stretches without experiencing any symptoms. Compared to the general population, those with BPD and bipolar disorder are more likely to experience suicidal thoughts.

What is the Difference Between BPD and Bipolar? Difference Between Bipolar and BPD

BPD is a fundamentally different diagnosis from bipolar disorder, despite some of its symptoms being similar. BPD is a personality disorder, whereas bipolar disorder is a mood disorder. BPD can be challenging to treat. Research is always being done to improve care for people with BPD and improve their quality of life. Finding the right therapy and treatment may take some time, so it’s crucial to keep looking.

In general, a regimen of both medication and psychotherapy can be quite helpful for those with bipolar disease. Additional tactics that could help reduce symptoms and improve overall mental health include self-management and complementary medical procedures. People with bipolar disorder are frequently able to go for extended periods of time without any symptoms when given the proper care.

Is BPD and Bipolar Disorder the Same? What’s the Difference Between Bipolar And BPD?

BPD symptoms vs Bipolar? Similar symptoms of bipolar disease and borderline personality disorder can include impulsive behavior, intense emotional responses, and desperation. The two situations become mixed up as a result. However, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bipolar disorder are two separate illnesses with different symptoms and treatment options.

Do I Have Bipolar Disorder or BPD? Similarities Between Bipolar Vs BPD

Since both conditions have the trait of mood instability, several experts have suggested that BPD and bipolar illness may be connected. Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood swings from depression to either hypomania, which is comparable to mania but less severe, or mania, which is marked by euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, and an increase in activity.

Mood swings, also known as emotional dysregulation or affective instability, are linked to BPD. In a matter of minutes, people with BPD may go from feeling completely well to terribly upset. Both those with BPD and those with bipolar disease usually exhibit impulsive conduct.

Bipolar And Borderline Personality Disorder Dual Diagnosis – Bipolar And BPD Dual Diagnosis

Can you have bipolar disorder and BPD? Yes, having bipolar disorder and BPD at the same time is possible. BPD and bipolar dual diagnosis can occasionally result in severe symptoms. The patient might require intensive hospital inpatient treatment. Other times, individuals with both diseases may only require outpatient treatment rather than hospitalization. Everything depends on how severe and intense each disorder is. The symptoms of one of the illnesses may be more severe than those of the other.

BPD and bipolar disorder are chronic disorders. Working with your doctor to create a treatment plan that is effective for you is crucial for either of these conditions. This will guarantee that instead of getting worse, your symptoms get better. Speak with your doctor immediately away if you believe your treatment isn’t working as effectively as it should.

Lorazepam BPD

The treatment for borderline personality disorder with lorazepam is not commonly used. 2% of the members have reported trying it, and they gave positive effectiveness reports. ranked as the 20th most tried and the 33rd best.

Reclaim Your Life From Borderline Personality Disorder And Bipolar Disorder, We Level Up Behavioral Center

At We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. In addition, we work as an integrated team providing information about the difference between Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder and other aspects of treatment. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

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National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Bipolar Disorder,”  “Borderline Personality Disorder.”