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Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder?


Formerly referred to as bipolar disorder, manic depression is characterized by wide swings in mood and energy state. Periods of extremely high energy, euphoria, and feelings of grandiosity are some of the symptoms of mania. In contrast, extreme sadness, low energy, and hopelessness indicate the depressive cycle of this disorder. During a manic phase, the person may engage in risky and impulsive behavior. Thoughts become in no time paced, and therefore the need for sleep is significantly reduced. During the depressive phase, an individual with manic depression feels extremely tired, sad, and hopeless. Many patients who have manic depression are misdiagnosed with depressive disorder.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder:

Manic depression is known for alternating periods of depression and mania, which will last from days to months. During a manic, hypomanic, or depressed episode with “mixed features,” symptoms of depression and mania happen at an equivalent time.

During times of mania, symptoms might include:

  • An excessively happy or angry, irritated mood

  • More physical and psychic energy and activity than normal

  • Racing thoughts and concepts

  • Talking more and faster

  • Making big plans

  • Risk-taking

  • Impulsiveness (substance abuse, sex, spending, etc.)

  • Less sleep, but no feeling of being tired

During periods of depression, symptoms might include:

  • Drop-in energy

  • Lasting sadness

  • Less activity and energy

  • Restlessness and irritability

  • Problems concentrating and making decisions

  • Worry and anxiety

  • No interest in favorite activities

  • Feelings of guilt and hopelessness; suicidal thoughts

  • Change in appetite or sleep patterns

Treatment options for bipolar disorder:

Most of the people with manic depression need lifelong treatment to stay their condition managed. It usually includes medicine, including mood stabilizers, and sometimes also antipsychotics or antidepressants. Therapy also can help people with manic depression and develop skills to handle it.


  • The borderline personality disorder includes a longstanding pattern of abrupt, moment-to-moment mood swings, self-image, relationships, and behavior (in contrast to distinct episodes of mania or depression in people with bipolar disorder) that are usually triggered by conflicts in interactions with people. People with borderline personality disorder can experience severe strong emotional responses to traumatic and upsetting life events and sometimes attempt to hurt themselves. They often have chaotic relationships with people.

  • While borderline personality disorder resembles manic depression when it involves impulsive behavior and mood swings, BPD is different because patterns of unstable relationships characterize it. Those with borderline personality disorders are very sensitive and struggle with managing their emotions. Often they address ineffective coping mechanisms, like self-harm.

  • A person with BPD is usually tortured by an intense fear of abandonment, resulting in unstable relationships or staying in relationships that aren’t working. They experience acute emotional reactions to upsetting or disappointing life events. They’re typically very self-critical and should engage in self-harming behavior.

  • People with borderline personality disorder are more likely to experience other psychological problems, too. They’re also more likely to have had experience some trauma at a very young age than people with manic depression, although trauma in itself doesn’t cause borderline personality disorder. They often can also have problems with addictions, eating disorders, body image, and anxiety

Symptoms of borderline personality disorder:

People with borderline personality disorder have trouble controlling their thoughts and managing their feelings and sometimes indulge in impulsive and reckless behavior.

  • Frantic efforts to avoid feeling abandoned.

  • History of unstable, intense relationships.

  • The tendency to look at people and situations as either “all good” or “all bad.”

  • Poor self-image

  • Impulsiveness (spending, sex, drug abuse, etc.)

  • Self-harm (e.g., cutting) or suicidal behavior

  • Feelings of emptiness

  • Problems managing anger and unsightly emotions

  • Paranoia

Treatment of borderline personality disorder:

  • Long-term treatment is typically necessary for people with borderline personality disorder. Treatment mainly involves specific psychotherapy, like dialectical behavior modification (DBT) or transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP) aimed toward helping people manage impulses (such as suicidal urges or tendencies to self-harm once they feel upset), feelings of distress or anger, and emotional over-sensitivities to interactions with people.

  • Medications also are sometimes wont to help with these symptoms, although they’re not always effective and not considered to be the most effective treatment in borderline personality disorder. Sometimes, short hospital stays also are needed to manage times of crisis that involve threats to safety and well-being.


  • When an individual with manic depression isn’t experiencing a manic or depressive episode, they demonstrate stability that people with borderline personality don’t show. If a bipolar person is between episodes, they can function quite effectively. They can have in-depth relationships that may be disturbed by their periods of illness. Still, once they aren’t experiencing episodes, they need the stability that you don’t see within the borderline person.

  • Bipolar disorder is more rooted in the biology of the ‘systema nervosum’ and more responsive to medications. Borderline personality disorder actively involves the psychological portion of the mind, additionally to the biology of the brain and ‘systema nervosum.’ A more biological condition like bipolar disorder lacks these deeply rooted psychological aspects or methods of perceiving the self.

  • Mood swings of manic depression are more random and fewer associated with episodes than those of borderline personality disorder. Those with bipolar disorder may need a quiet hair-trigger response during an episode, whereas a person with borderline personality disorder features a hair-trigger reaction all of the time.


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