Further to my recent post Misconceptions of BPD I would like to elaborate on another common view people have on the illness, it IS NOT Bi-Polar, there is a difference, now its easy to understand why people connect the two because there are similarities, in this post I would just like to establish how the two differ for those of you who have difficulty understanding.
For one thing, they’re technically different types of disorders. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, whereas BPD is a personality disorder
BPD & Bi-Polar both feature unstable moods.
Bipolar disorder: The person can go from depression, “the lowest of lows,” to mania, “the highest of highs,” and back again. In mania, the person could “take on the world.” They feel great, they don’t feel a need for sleep, and their activity level could wear out a three year old. (Hypomania is similar to mania, but less severe.)
BPD: People with BPD can feel fine one minute, and be completely upset five minutes later. It’s like watching a tennis match between mood swings.
Both: Impulsivity is another common trait. People with these disorders can be like children about to dart out into a busy street, unless you catch them.
And now…drum roll please…the differences.
Bipolar disorder: affects your moods, but it’s not a function of basic personality development.
BPD is classified as a “dramatic” disorder, along with antisocial, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders.
The mood swings in both can be compared to the weather.
BPD: Mood swings are more unstable. They often last a few hours, at most. It can be “sunny, rainy, windy, and calm,” all in one day. Borderline is considered a part of a person’s make up. It’s not episodic. Symptoms tend to be a constant- though they can come and go in many different degrees.
Bipolar disorder: The moods may change, but the person stays in them longer–a few days, weeks, or more. It may rain steadily, or be sunny, but it’s a “consistent weather pattern” for a time. Bipolar is an episodic mood disorder. When not in a mood swing, the symptoms are not present
Another difference is how they start.
BPD: it’s usually something “external,” like an argument with a spouse or something that happens to trigger the episode.
Bipolar disorder: it’s more “internal” — happening “simply out of the blue.”
Another difference between bipolar and borderline personality disorder is the types of emotions people with these disorders experience. People with BPD may view themselves as fundamentally bad or unworthy and are more prone to feelings of loneliness, emptiness and a severe fear of abandonment.