Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder

Impulsivity

Impulsivity is a chronic symptom in borderline personality disorder — difficulties controlling or regulating behavior is a challenge that is part of everyday life.

In bipolar disorder impulsivity and disinhibited behaviors occur during the context of a manic or hypomanic period — they are not chronic or baseline. And if someone is impulsive at baseline it has to look significantly worse during a sustained period of time to qualify as manic or hypomanic.

Why the Confusion?

Bipolar II is often a picture of recurrent depressive episodes punctuated by periods of hypomania. The depression is the longer lasting and usually much more difficulty part of the disorder, and this can look like borderline personality disorder with its chronic sadness. But the mood changes in bipolar disorder are not just momentary and not just sad and angry — they have specific qualities that are very different from what is included in the borderline personality disorder diagnosis.

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