Skip to main content

Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar

HMT News TeamHMT News Team  April 23, 2022

Borderline personality disorder VS bipolar – What you should know! BPD is characterized by extreme mood swings, unstable relationships, and impulsiveness. Borderline Personality Disorder patients suffer from low self-esteem and frantic efforts to avoid real or perceived abandonment, which leads to impulsive actions such as self-harming and suicidal behaviours.

Borderline personality disorder symptoms are often triggered by conflict in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder would likely have suffered from mild to extreme childhood trauma, and this could be a severe trigger!

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms:

Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar | Healthier Me Today

  • Unstable relationships
  • Self-destructive behaviours
  • Self-Harm
  • Emotional Swings
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Explosive Anger
  • Feeling out of touch with reality


Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar | Healthier Me Today

Treatment mainly involves specific forms of therapy, such as behaviour therapy or therapy that is aimed at helping people manage impulses like:

  • Suicidal urges
  • Tendencies to harm when upset
  • Feelings of distress, anger, and emotional oversensitivity to interactions with people.

Medications can be used to help with these symptoms. Although they are not always effective with some people and are not considered to be the main focus of treatment for borderline personality disorder, doctors usually recommend getting therapy before giving out daily medication, depending on how severe the symptoms are in the person with the disorder. Sometimes the doctor recommends the patient with the disorder should stay a few nights in the hospital for supervision just so the doctors know what they are dealing with and they can discuss how to treat it.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar | Healthier Me Today

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression; it causes swings in mood, energy and the ability to function during the day.

BPD and bipolar disorders are often talked of as interchangeably, but they are not the same thing in the medical community. They can both cause impulsive behaviour outside of the person’s normal habits, but there are some clear differences.

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms:

Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar | Healthier Me Today

  • Feeling sad, hopeless or irritable for a majority of your time!
  • No energy to do anything
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
  • Loss of interest in the things you enjoyed
  • Feeling empty or worthless
  • Feeling guilt and despair
  • Self-doubt 

These symptoms can last for days and weeks, even months.

Bipolar disorder can look very different with different people depending on how bad the person with bipolar disorder has it.

Depression associated with bipolar disorder can look like depression on its own. Both disorders cause a lot of different moods. People with bipolar disorder may have periods of time where they don’t appear to be showing unusual behaviour to other people.

People with a borderline personality disorder don’t seem to have a baseline personality between each episode like those with bipolar. However, it has a consistent effect on their everyday life. 

Identifying the causes that trigger the disorder may help identify the illness. In the case of BD, not being able to identify any triggers may be a clue to what it is. Researchers aren’t clear on what causes it yet; however, genetics and trauma may be the main cause in some cases of the disorders.

Some people with these disorders have to go through traumatic experiences to cause these disorders, and some just inherit them from genetics.


Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar | Healthier Me Today

Most people with bipolar disorder will need treatment their entire life to keep their condition managed. This includes medicine like mood stabilizers and medications such as antipsychotics or antidepressants.

Therapy is very helpful for people with BD to understand it and develop skills to handle it and what to do when they have a bipolar episode.

The Focus Of Borderline Personality Disorder

mental health academy | Healthier Me Today

When determining Borderline Personality Disorder, a person’s personal relationships should be studied more closely, as they are the identifier of the condition. One of the differences between these two disorders is the role that other people play in them too.

Bipolar symptoms can flare up without any human interaction. Stress and conflict can be the trigger. Borderline personality disorder centres on how the patients interact with other people and how they see themselves.

Borderline personality disorder symptoms are usually known to be more reactive. This is because of a result of a psychologically salient, which is a feeling of frustration, rejection or a sense of abandonment.

Who is at Risk of Becoming Bipolar?

Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar | Healthier Me Today

Those who are more at risk include those who have a first-degree relative who has bipolar disorder, a parent or sibling who is bipolar, having periods of high stress and anxiety from trauma and drug abuse can be the main risk factors of becoming bipolar. You are more likely to develop borderline personality disorder if you have a close relative with a similar disorder. However, other contributing factors could include things like a stressful childhood, particularly being abused or neglected.

The person’s caregiver may have also had a substance abuse problem, a person’s natural personality can contribute to having a borderline personality disorder, impulsiveness and aggression may play a main role in the development of borderline personality disorder.

Getting A Diagnosis

Borderline Personality Disorder VS Bipolar | Healthier Me Today

There are nine symptoms of Borderline personality disorder, and identifying five of them should be enough for a medical professional to give a diagnosis. Though this is not a simple task, getting a diagnosis for bipolar disorder is just as complicated, if not more. A medical professional may need to do a physical exam, psychiatric assessment, and mood charting to keep a record of your moods and sleeping patterns to determine whether a patient is bipolar or has a borderline personality disorder. BP can appear in kids and is often confused with ADHD.

There’s no biological factor to distinguish between the two disorders, but it’s important to understand what condition is present. Misdiagnosed patients have a higher risk of getting worse symptoms and complications from the disorder or mistreatment, or even worse, suicide. Researchers are continuing to find ways to diagnose each condition more easily every day.

Everything You Need To Know About Borderline Personality Disorder And Bipolar Disorder

However, there is not enough research that suggests that borderline personality disorder and bipolar are related. There are some features that are the same. There are also some marked differences between borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.

HMT News Team

HMT News Team 

You can consider Healthier Me Today your one-stop health resource, the all-in-one online handbook you can take wherever you go! Healthier Me Today covers everything you need to know about your health.