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Borderline Personality Disorder vs Bipolar Disorder: Explaining the Difference

January 4, 2022

6 min read

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Author : United We Care
Borderline Personality Disorder vs Bipolar Disorder: Explaining the Difference

The similarity of symptoms often confuses mental health professionals while understanding borderline personality disorder Vs bipolar disorder. These are different conditions as bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, and BPD is a personality disorder. Are you confused with BPD? Let us dive deeper to understand these conditions by knowing the differences between them.

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Compare and contrast different classifications of bipolar disorder vs borderline personality disorder?

Bipolar disorder involves severe mood swings as the individual oscillates between depression and mania. The state of depression in bipolar disorder includes loss of interest in routine acts of life and causes symptoms like hopelessness, sadness, etc.
During the manic state of bipolar disorder, the individual experiences high energy levels, euphoria, and irritability. You can also notice the inability to think, altered judgment, and impulsive behavior in bipolar disorder. Following are some categories of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar 1– History of at least one manic episode, which may be just before or after a major depressive episode
  • Bipolar 2– The person has a history of just one or several episodes of hypomania or major depression. No record of a manic episode. 

Borderline personality disorder involves an individual’s struggles to control and regulate emotions. It can disturb the state of stable emotions. The patients with BPD react in extreme ways to seemingly minor stressors. This behavior often leads to chaotic relationships, impulsive behavior, and self-harm.

Bipolar 2 vs borderline personality disorder

It is crucial to make a correct assessment by understanding the significant differences between Bpd Vs Bipolar 2 to make sure that patients receive the support they need.
The following symptoms may help distinguish between bipolar disorder vs borderline personality disorder:

  1. Self-harm- Self-harm is common in individuals with BPD because self-harm is often a means of controlling intense and unstable emotions for them. Self-harming tendency is less common in patients with bipolar 2 disorder who may exhibit suicidal tendencies.
  2. Personal relationships– Intense and chaotic relationships are hallmarks of BPD. On the other hand, an individual with bipolar disorder may struggle to maintain personal relationships because of the severity of symptoms.
  3. Mania– Impulsive actions during the period of a manic episode are usual in BPD. However, there is no correlation between impulsive behavior and episodes of mania in patients with bipolar 2 disorders. 
  4. Quality of sleep– An individual with BPD tends to have a regular sleep cycle. Sleep disturbances during episodes of depression and mania are common in people with bipolar 2 disorder.  
  5. Mood cycles– In patients with bipolar disorders, mood cycles may last for months unless the person has rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. On the contrary, the mood shifts in BPD tend to be short-lived and sudden, which may last for a few hours.

Individuals who suffer from both BPD and bipolar disorder may present with specific symptoms unique to both conditions.

  1. Alteration in quality and duration of sleep.
  2. Manic episodes that result in extreme feelings.
  3. Mixed episodes that involve symptoms of manic attacks with depression.

3 most common symptoms of Bipolar Disorder


Expert bipolar disorder therapists can assist individuals who struggle with mood swings and other issues by providing appropriate therapies. Reputed Mental Health Platforms offer an exhaustive directory of licensed mental health specialists. One can select and book a therapist for an online session with no hassles.   

Identify what can BPD be confused with? Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, Depression, ASPD

Mental health professionals may sometimes find it hard to assess your situation and symptoms because they mostly correlate diagnosis with the information available to them. It may result in misdiagnosis and wrong treatment. BPD can also co-exist with other mental health conditions. Following are some personality disorders that may be confused with Borderline Personality Disorder:

  1. Bipolar Personality Disorder (BPD)- We also know Borderline Personality Disorder as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. It can lead to severe mood swings and impulsive actions.
  2. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)- Individuals with ASPD often act impulsively with no consideration for others. They tend to put their pleasures and personal gains before the people around them.
  3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- A trigger of a terrifying event can result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Severe anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks are common symptoms of PTSD.
  4. Depression– Depression influences an individual’s ability to think, feel, and behave appropriately. It involves a constant feeling of loss of interest and sadness.
  5.  Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)- Individuals with PPD cannot easily confide in people, even if they happen to be friends, relatives, or family members. They may perceive threats in common occurrences and everyday situations.

Borderline personality disorder can be confused with an array of mental health conditions like substance use disorders, eating disorders, and anxiety, in addition to the above conditions.

What are the common symptoms of BPD and Bipolar Disorder?

Both bipolar disorder and Borderline Personality disorders involve extreme mood swings that may not be relevant to the ongoing events. The similarities of symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis. Family history is a common element between bipolar disorder vs borderline personality disorder. Information about the same can help mental health professionals diagnose the condition.
Misdiagnosis of BPD as bipolar disorder is Type 2 is not rare. Overlapping of common symptoms is a significant cause of such misdiagnosis. There are several similarities of symptoms as follows:

  1. Intense emotions
  2. Impulsive behavior
  3. Suicidal thoughts

Dramatic mood swings are common characteristics of bipolar disorder vs borderline personality disorder.  These may lead to confusion and misdiagnosis. Although Borderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolar share some symptoms like extreme emotions and impulsive actions, bipolar disorder is also associated with chaotic relationships, a feature absent in BPD.
One has to look at all symptoms and the whole pattern of issues to avoid confusion between Borderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolar disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder satisfies the criteria of several other mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. Biological, social, and psychological pathways may result in overlapping symptoms between Borderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolar disorder. Visit unitedwecare.com to know more details on the same.


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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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