In Part I of this two-part series, I discuss the differences between bipolar and borderline personality disorder in terms of diagnosis. In this part, I focus on differences in treatments for the two conditions.

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder has been considered a biological illness for many years, and the research has focused largely on medications. A standard repertoire of medications is used to treat bipolar:

6 Comments to
Borderline Personality and Bipolar Differences Part II: Treatment

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  1. I live in England and have to rely on the NHS has I can not afford to go Private…… the system is failing me, due to high demand for its services (ie therapy’s)I can not take medications for various reasons (ie anti depressants trigger mania, Mood stabilizers trigger my eating disorder, because they cause a sensational craving to eat constantly, anti anxiety medication (Diazipan) is difficult to use without leading to addiction)I don’t have a supportive family and have to look after 2 children, I have Borderline Personality disorder….What can I do??? The C.A.T I had, is being undone because i’ve been left to my own devices for a few months and have to wait another couple of months to start Art Psychotherapy.. Im back to square one so to speak, in spite of having an over view to what is happening to me and why….Im becoming very despondent and destructive

  2. Ok so you went though how BPD and Bipolar are different and how they have some slight similarities… I have been diagnosed with both: Bipolar NOS and BPD. So how does all this translate to someone in my situation? I do thank you for these two articles. I think it shed some light for me. I think that when I’m going though what I think is a mixed episode is actually depression with the mood shifts of BPD. Maybe? So back to my original concern: What does this information mean for someone in my particular situation?

  3. Thanks for the information. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar Disorder at different times, altho the consensus seems to be that I have Borderline PD. As you stated, symptoms can overlap, and many people are misdiagnosed. (Altho I do know some people who have both disorders.) I found the link to this blog on one of my “mood disorders” sites, and I will definitely have to thank the friend who posted it–the information is very helpful and I think will help a lot of people who are confused about these two disorders.

  4. Sadly, most individuals struggling with personality disorders do not have their diagnoses properly documented due to the insurance industries reluctance/refusal to provide coverage since personality disorders are not typically biologically based “illnesses” – just like marital therapy is not typically covered because it is not and illness. Clinicians have historically relied upon the “garbage can” diagnoses to ensure reimbursement from the health insurance industry. I am hopeful the recent enactment of the Mental Health Parity Law will persuade clinicians to document psychiatric diagnoses more accurately and transparently. Until this happens it will remain impossible to accurately study the differences between these and other mental health conditions.

  5. I diagnosed myself with Bipolar II. The doctor was presented with my research and within 10 minutes, agreed. I was being treated for depression and knew there had to be something more b/c of what I was and continue to deal with. I was having a difficult time deciding if it I had BPD or Bipolar II. I am thinking I may have both and don’t know if there is any good in relaying this to the doctor. If the medications are similarly used, then what’s the point. All I know is I’m on one medication for depression, one for Bipolar II, and an anti-anxiety medication. I am just a cocktail of meds now it seems and I still struggle with depression! Any diagnosis sucks, but it also makes you understand yourself better.. Don’t know if I’ll ever feel “good” for a long period of time. Everyday is different.

  6. I have BPD,but occasionally I get a slight agitation like in hypomania.I am spanish.
    I was very ill years ago with depression,twice,and I cannot work,as my Job was one of responsability .I miss it, but thanks to medications,family and friends I am stable and
    doing ok so far.I hope you can all get comfort from others and health workers .One has to work to help oneself too,I have to put up with the medications side-effects.

  7. I have been diagnosed with both but think it was the meds doing it mostly, as I am far more well adjusted for the several years without them than I was for about two decades on them. However I am still not convinced that I ever had bipolar to begin with, seeing as how the DSM says side effects must be ruled out first. It seems to me they just wanted an excuse to give me more drugs and make a quick buck.

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Candida Fink, M.D. and Joe Kraynak are authors of
Bipolar Disorder for Dummies.


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