Borderline personality disorder and bipolar are often mistaken as being the same thing. They are also often misdiagnosed, one for the other. This is because the symptoms for both illnesses are startlingly similar.
Borderline personality disorder is actually less common and less known than bipolar. Borderline personality disorder accounts for only about twenty percent of hospitalizations for mental illness each year, while bipolar accounts for about fifty percent of hospitalizations. Borderline personality disorder is most common in young women, whereas bipolar is equally common in both men and women, as well as all age groups.
Borderline personality disorder and bipolar patients both experience mood swings that may involve violent outbursts, depression, or anxiety. However, while bipolar patients typically cycle through these moods over a period of weeks or months, borderline personality disorder patients may have bursts of these moods lasting only a few hours or a day.
Borderline personality disorder patients also undergo periods of having no idea who they are in terms of personality, likes, dislikes, and preferences. They may change long term goals frequently, and have trouble sticking to any one activity. Acting with impulsiveness, going on major unaffordable shopping sprees, excessive eating, or engaging in risky sexual relationships can also be experienced. These are also symptoms of mania in bipolar patients.
Borderline personality disorder patients may also undergo periods of worthlessness, feeling mistreated or misunderstood, and emptiness. These symptoms coincide with symptoms of depression in bipolar patients.
Another symptom of borderline personality disorder involves how they deal with relationships. Relationships are often viewed in extremes. Either the patient is totally in love or hates with a passion. A patient may be completely in love one minute, then hate someone totally due to a small conflict or situation. Fears of abandonment often lead to suicide threats, rejection, and depression in the patient. These relationship issues can also be found in bipolar patients.
Treatments of borderline personality disorder and bipolar are also similar. A combination of therapy and medication is typically preferred by the psychiatrist. Cognitive behavioral therapy, while successfully implemented with bipolar patients, was originally developed for use with borderline personality disorder. Various medications can also be prescribed for either mental illness with successful results.
Like bipolar disorder, little is known about the actual causes of borderline personality disorder. There is a lot of controversy about genetics versus environment in this area. However, it appears through research that, while bipolar is definitely hereditary and biological in nature, borderline personality disorder is more likely to be a result of environment and situational stimuli.
As you can see, many similarities exist between bipolar and borderline personality disorder. It can often be quite difficult to distinguish one illness from the other, even for doctors and psychologists. If you suffer any of the symptoms discussed here, it is important to obtain the assistance and diagnosis of a licensed professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your symptoms. You should never attempt self diagnosis and treatment for symptoms such as those associated with bipolar and borderline personality disorder without the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist. Doing so may cause your symptoms to worsen, and make treatment less successful in the future.