Bipolar vs Borderline Personality Disorder

While being diagnosed with the correct mental health disorder is critical for development of a treatment plan which includes medication, thousands of patients receive an incorrect plan, often continuing to struggle through life for years to come. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that in the U.S. 1.6% of the population is diagnosed with BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder compared with 2.6% of the population that have bipolar disorder.

Is it Bipolar or BPD?

When comparing bipolar disorder, which may also be referred to as bipolar affective disorder, manic depressive disorder or manic depression — BPD or borderline personality disorder rivals the deterioration of psychiatric and physical health that is also present in those diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In addition, those with either bipolar or BPD present with co-occurring mental health illness symptoms that overlap each other make it difficult for even those with experience to ascertain which disorder (bipolar or BPD) is actually present.

Bipolar and BPD Share Similar Symptoms

Science Daily reports that clinical comparisons and study have intimated that BPD is as disabling as bipolar disorders. Data from psychiatric patient samples show that BPD is seen as frequently as bipolar disorder and share many of the same overlapping issues. Both bipolar and BPD patients typically suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders and suicidal behaviors.

Bipolar versus BPD

People with bipolar disorder may experience the same mood or phase of their cycle for weeks at a time while those with BPD find themselves dealing with intense bouts of anger, depression and anxiety that are relatively short in duration. Both disorders have similar symptoms such as extreme mood swings, displaying reckless behavior, and being impulsive. While a major defining factor of bipolar disorder involves extreme highs and lows in mood, those with BPD have significant difficulty regulating their emotions and thoughts, at times finding themselves at the extreme destructive ranges of mood.

Diagnosing Bipolar or BPD Correctly

The correct diagnosis is often confusing and tricky for mental health professionals with limited experience. While they may have similar and overlapping symptoms they are completely different disorders that require their own unique treatments and therapeutic plan. Having a correct diagnosis early allows for providing effective treatment more quickly. Misdiagnosis and delay of proper treatment brings with it a higher risk of complications, worsened symptoms, or even risk of suicide.

Dr. Hege, a highly respected psychiatrist in the Atlanta area has more than 25 years of experience providing correct diagnoses and successful treatment plans for those that have sought him out for the help they needed to get their lives back on track. If you too need help, call the office for an appointment.

Treatment for Bipolar and BDP

If Dr. Hege diagnoses bipolar disorder, he is very experienced in providing medication management. He usually also recommends a therapist for supporting and/or insight oriented psychotherapy to enhance the response to treatment. If he diagnoses borderline personality disorder, he refers patients for the most scientifically proven treatment, DBT. DBT is a structured treatment provided by a specially trained therapist. These therapists work in the same office in collaboration with a psychiatrist to provide the most effective, integrated treatments.

About Darvin Hege

Dr. Darvin Hege, MD, PC, is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is an Emory Hospital residency trained psychiatrist who has been practicing psychiatry for more than 25 years. He maintains over 50 hours of AMA certified education each year to stay informed of advances in psychiatry.

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