For years, there has been a lot of confusion about two very common mental illnesses, bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD). It’s true that both disorders share similar symptoms and have the ability to severely disrupt a person’s life. Though, despite their commonalities, it’s essential to know that they are different and therefore require different treatment methods. In this article, we’ll explore borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder in more detail.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?The keyword in borderline personality disorder is personality. It’s essential to recognize that this condition is not a mood disorder. Instead, it’s a personality disorder that upsets a person’s ability to manage emotions properly, but its primary symptoms are not focused on the mood. People with BPD generally experience widespread instability in many areas of their personal lives because they tend to struggle with self-perception and relationships. 

The disorder, which usually presents in adolescence or early adulthood, affects nearly six percent of adults (about 14 million Americans) at some point. While aspects like genetics and environment play a role in BPD, scientists are still uncertain about the exact cause. However, certain risk factors may contribute to developing the condition. These include emotional abuse, physical abuse, bullying, sexual abuse, and neglect during early childhood.

To add to this, people with BPD are often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. The similarities in mood swings ranging from extreme highs to severe lows may cause clinicians to struggle between a borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder diagnosis. To make things especially challenging, symptoms of borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder symptoms are easy to confuse because they can sometimes symptoms can overlap or present in similar ways. 

Common signs of borderline personality disorder are:

  • Unclear or shifting self-image
  • Fear of desertion
  • Insecure relationships
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Self-harm
  • Intense mood swings
  • Persistent feelings of emptiness
  • Unpredictable anger
  • Feeling suspicious
  • Blurred reality

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Naturally, to identify borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder, it’s important to have a foundational knowledge of both conditions. Where BPD is a personality disorder, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, meaning that most of its symptoms relate directly to moods. Specifically, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by episodes of depression (sadness, lethargy) and mania (excitement, euphoria).

There are three different types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: Manic episodes last for upwards of seven days, and depressive episodes can last for more than 14 days.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: This is similar to bipolar I disorder, but the “highs” are not as high. Rather than mania, bipolar II disorder presents with hypomania, a less intense feeling of joy and energy.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder: With this form of bipolar disorder, both the manic and depressive episodes are more minor. As a result, the less severe symptoms often prove harder to diagnose.

Other common behavioral changes associated with bipolar disorder might include:

  • Changed sleep patterns
  • Increased or rapid speech
  • Uncontrollable racing thoughts
  • Increased risky behavior
  • Distractibility
  • Increased activity

Many medical studies link bipolar disorder to an imbalance of brain chemicals that can lead to irregular brain activity. In addition, genetics might play a role in the development of bipolar disorder as it’s a condition that frequently has a family history. In fact, nearly 80 to 90 percent of individuals with this illness also have a relative with depression or bipolar disorder, suggesting a strong genetic component.

Borderline Personality Disorder vs. Bipolar Disorder Treatment Options

Borderline Personality Disorder vs Bipolar Disorder Treatment OptionsTreatment options for individuals with borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder vary from person to person. But if you’ve tried to get help before without good results, it may be time to consider inpatient mental health treatment. This intensive level of care allows you to focus solely on your mental health and wellbeing, which can yield great results.

Adult Psychiatric Services

If you or a loved one needs help with either condition, The Willough at Naples’ adult psychiatric program offers intensive treatment for anyone dealing with a mental health condition. Even if you’re not sure exactly what is troubling you, our experienced clinicians and mental health experts can help you identify signs of borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder. From there, our team of physicians, psychiatrists, and other care staff will help create a personalized treatment plan that’s perfect for you.

Individuals undergoing inpatient treatment can expect to participate in care options like:

But whether you’re living with borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder, it’s common for mental health conditions to co-occur with addiction. That’s why The Willough at Naples also offers a specialized dual diagnosis program to help those with co-occurring disorders.

Dual Diagnosis Program

This program incorporates many of the same treatment options as our adult psychiatric service but comes with addiction-focused treatment options, like relapse prevention planning and access to a separate medical detox program.

Why is a dual diagnosis program ideal for co-occurring disorders? Because where traditional treatment methods are only prepared to deal with addiction or mental health, dual diagnosis treats both conditions as fundamentally related.

Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder, these feelings can create significant problems in your daily life. And for many people, alcohol and drug abuse become easy ways to deal with these uncomfortable symptoms. That’s why our dual diagnosis program treats both issues comprehensively and holistically through evidence-based therapies. In this way, dual diagnosis care can resolve mental health and addiction issues that were not addressed in other treatment programs.

Where Can You Get Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder?

The Willough at Naples treats mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. By providing world-class care, we can help you regain control of your daily life. That’s why during your time here, you’ll work closely with a team of licensed medical professionals to develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique situation and recovery goals.

If you want to learn more about our treatment programs for borderline personality disorder vs. bipolar disorder, call us at (239) 688-3063 or submit a confidential contact form online. If you’re ready to make improvements in your mental health, then we’re ready to help.

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