Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder often share many of the same symptoms – mood shifts, emotion dysregulation, impulsivity. In “Is Bipolar Disorder Overdiagnosed in Adults?” I cited a study suggesting that a number of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder actually meet criteria for borderline personality disorder, instead.
So what’s the difference? It’s a complicated discussion. Although some overlap may exist, important distinctions separate the two conditions, yet some researchers believe both conditions are likely a part of a continuum and are, in fact, related to one another.
In this part of a two-part series, I highlight the diagnostic differences between bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. In Part II, I focus on differences in treatment for the two conditions.
Development/Nature of the Illness
Borderline personality disorder is a type of “personality disorder” which essentially means that it is a developmental condition – something that has evolved through the entire development of a person’s emotional/behavioral infrastructure.