Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder

Can They Occur Together?

People with borderline personality disorder are at high risk of developing major depressive episodes and anxiety disorders. They can also develop bipolar disorder but for both diagnoses to be present the bipolar symptoms have to be different than the person’s typical way of behaving. The sadness or impulsivity or anger must be significantly different than their usual patterns and must be sustained for longer than just a few moments. Also, sustained euphoric/grandiose periods are almost always going to be present in bipolar disorder, and these must look different than baseline.

The differentiation between borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder is often challenging, but important. If you are getting different diagnoses from different doctors, try to have a conversation with your doctor about why the doctor has made a particular diagnosis. It is okay to express your confusion and to ask about your doctor’s thought process. If your current doctor is not willing to have this conversation, consider exploring this with another doctor or therapist. You have a right to understand your diagnosis and have your questions answered.

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