BPD vs Bipolar: Similarities and Differences (2023)

Borderline personality disorder(BPD) yBipolar disorder(BD) are mental illnesses associated with dramatic mood swings. Bipolar is a mood disorder and BPD is a personality disorder.

Given some common symptoms, they are often confused with each other. However, the differences between BPD and bipolar can help guide a diagnosis. The two also have different causes and treatments.

BPD vs Bipolar: Similarities and Differences (1)

Este artículo describe las diferencias y similitudes entre el TLP y el trastorno bipolar. También describe las diferentes causas y tratamientos de las dos enfermedades mentales.

BPD symptoms vs. Bipolar

BPD and Bipolar share some of the same characteristics but have different symptom patterns, durations, and triggers.

Some symptoms are also more common in one than the other. For example, both BPD and bipolar are characterized by emotional turmoil and impulsive behavior. People with BPD often have unstable personal relationships, which is not as common in people with bipolar disorder.


  • Dramatic emotional changes that last from a few hours to a few days.

  • Engages in impulsive or unsafe behavior

  • Often has inappropriate anger or uncontrolled aggression.

  • Feelings of emptiness and low self-esteem.

  • Self-harm or thoughts of self-harm are more common

  • chronic depression

  • distorted self image

  • fear of being abandoned

    (Video) Differences and Similarities: Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Often involved in intense and unstable relationships, but may lack close or trusted friends.

  • Shorter cycles of mood instability

  • Episodes often associated with stress


  • Dramatic mood swings, extreme ups and downs that last for weeks or months

  • Elevated mood and self-esteem during manic episodes

  • Flat or depressed mood during episodes of depression

  • Weight fluctuations, energy levels and sleep needs.

  • Racing thoughts, impaired judgment, impulsiveness, and excessive talking

  • Slow speech, cognitive impairment and memory problems.

  • threatening or combative

  • Possibly suicidal in depression

  • It often has a genetic component.

PAD symptoms

The main symptoms of BPD include:

  • Dramatic emotional changes that last from a few hours to a few days.
  • Impulsive, risky and insecure behavior.
  • inappropriate anger
  • Feelings of emptiness and low self-esteem.
  • Self harm or thoughts of self harm
  • chronic depression
  • distorted self image
  • fear of being abandoned
  • Unstable and intense relationships.

People with BPD may also show signs of uncontrolled aggression. The impulsive nature of BPD can make a person more likely to engage in addictive behaviors such as drug use and gambling. Furthermore, the symptoms are often triggered by a conflict with another person or institution. A traumatic or stressful event can also cause an increase in BPD symptoms.

Another feature of BPD is called splitting.This term, which refers to dividing two things in half, is when someone cannot hold emotionally opposing views of themselves and others. It is usually a coping or defense mechanism to deal with the intense fear of abandonment and can lead to impulsive behavior and relationship difficulties.

(Video) Bipolar vs Borderline Personality Disorder – How to tell the difference

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The main symptoms of bipolar disorder are dramatic mood swings. Euphorias or periods of elevation, expansion, or irritability are considered manic episodes. The low or sad, empty or hopeless phases are depressive episodes. Experiencing both manic episodes and depressive episodes distinguishes BD from major depressive disorder (MDD), which is dominated only by depressive episodes.

During manic episodes, symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • Disminution of necesity of sleep.
  • Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Elevated mood, euphoria, and irritability
  • too talkative
  • uncontrolled thoughts
  • impaired judgment
  • simple distraction
  • Threatening and aggressive behavior.

During depressive episodes, symptoms of bipolar disorder include:

  • depressed mood
  • Flat or constrained expression
  • guilt and failure
  • Impaired cognition and memory
  • speak softly and slowly
  • Lack of energy and motivation.
  • Excessive emphasis on negative feelings and beliefs.
  • weight changes
  • insomnia
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

It is also important to understand that although manic episodes are the alternative to depressive episodes, they are not necessarily beneficial in bipolar disorder. People suffering from mania can be reckless. They often lack self-awareness and are unable to understand how their impulses affect themselves and others.

People with Bipolar I Disorder often cycle from a depressed to a manic state. Manic symptoms sometimes include symptoms of depression within the manic episode, known as mixed features.

Between cycles, people with bipolar disorder often have periods of true symptom-free wellness that last for weeks, months, or years.

On the other hand, people diagnosed with BPD often have more everyday emotional symptoms that can affect daily life.


There are a number of complex factors that can cause BPD or Bipolar.

Many of the emotional dysregulation experiences in BPD are in response to relationship interactions, while bipolar symptoms can be triggered by a variety of factors, including chemical imbalances in the brain and stressful life events.

Causes of borderline personality disorder

The exact cause of BPD is not fully known, but research suggests that it may be influenced by environmental factors, particularly in early childhood.

A history of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect by parents is common among people with BPD. Parental drug abuse is another possible cause. Research has shown that experiencing stress and trauma as a child and not being able to deal with it can contribute to BPD later in life.

Genetics, chemical imbalances andbrain structureit may also play a role in BPD.People with a family history of BPD are at higher risk of developing the condition. In particular, many people with BPD have impaired function of brain neurotransmitters.serotonin.

Studies have shown that people with BPD can have structural and functional changes in the brain, especially in areas that control impulses and emotional regulation, such as the amygdala,Hippocampusand orbitofrontal cortex.

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

The causes of bipolar disorder are complex. Most agree that there is no single cause and that a combination of factors often contributes to BD. People who have an immediate family member with TB are more likely to develop it.Some research also suggests that people with certain genes are more likely to become bipolar.

Researchers believe that chemical imbalances play a role in bipolar disorder.There is evidence that an imbalance in one or more neurotransmitters can lead to bipolar symptoms.

(Video) Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder: The Similarities and Differences

To diagnose

In accordance withDiagnostics and Statistics Manual 5ºedition(DSM-5), which psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals use to diagnose mental illness, bipolar is diagnosed when a person experiences a manic episode that may have been preceded or followed by a depressive episode.

Bipolar 2 disorder is diagnosed whenhypomania(less severe mania) and depressive episodes have occurred.

Some subtle diagnostic differences between BPD and bipolar disorder:

  • duration: A manic or depressive bipolar episode can last weeks, months, or longer. By contrast, people with BPD have shorter episodes of stress-responsive mood swings.
  • Family history: Genetic factors can also help differentiate the two.Mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder, are more likely to be passed from parent to child than borderline personality disorder.
  • to sleep: Sleep disturbances are often an early indicator of bipolar disorder.With bipolar disorder during a manic episode, a person can stay awake for days without feeling tired. Meanwhile, sleep patterns are less affected in BPD.
  • Relations: People with BPD have more obvious challenges in interacting with others, so they often have a history of turbulent personal relationships or lack close, trusted friends.
  • self mutilation: Self-injurious behaviors, such as cutting, are more common in BPD.

It is not uncommon for BPD and bipolar to occur at the same time. Current research shows that 10% of people diagnosed with bipolar I disorder will also be diagnosed with BPD and 20% of people diagnosed with bipolar II disorder will also be diagnosed with BPD.


The most effective treatment for these conditions is a personalized treatment plan that addresses your symptoms, personal needs, and lifestyle.


Psychotherapy is the first-line treatment for people with BPD.

There are several types of empirically supported psychotherapies used in BPD, including:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) that supports emotional management
  • Mindfulness-Based Therapy (MBT), which promotes a better understanding of what's going on inside your mind

The benefits of medication for BPD are less clear. In some cases, a psychiatrist may recommend medication to treat specific symptoms, such as mood swings, depression, and other co-occurring mental disorders.

Lifestyle adjustments that promote a balanced mood and self-care habits, such as regular sleep and exercise, and participation in psychoeducation can help keep the condition under control.

Bipolar disorder

Having bipolar disorder increases a person's risk of mortality and reduces their life expectancy.

Doctors can treat tuberculosis with medication and talk therapy. Psychiatrists typically prescribe mood stabilizers and second-generation antipsychotics to treat bipolar disorder.They may also prescribe antidepressants to treat depressive episodes in BD.

Psychotherapies that can be used to treat bipolar disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy and psychoeducation. Other therapies specifically designed to treat BD include interpersonal and social rhythm therapy and family-focused therapy.

Bipolar disorder is sometimes treated with electroconvulsive therapy, a brain stimulation technique used to treat severe or refractory manic and depressive episodes, or transcranial magnetic stimulation, which stimulates the brain with magnetic waves, to help treat subtypes of depression.

Since both BPD and bipolar disorder can be lifelong conditions, ongoing treatment is essential.

A word from Verywell

Bipolar disorder and BPD are not the same. Having bipolar or BPD can have a significant impact on your life. However, proper management of symptoms can reduce the risk of possible consequences, including substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm.

(Video) Bipolar Disorder Vs Borderline Personality Disorder: It’s easy to tell the difference

If you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health issue like BD or BPD, talk to your doctor about evaluation and treatment options.

frequent questions

  • What is the difference between bipolar disorder and ADHD?

    These disorders are often confused with each other due to some common symptoms. The most obvious difference is that ADHD symptoms are continuous, whereas bipolar symptoms are episodic. Also, ADHD usually appears for the first time in childhood. Bipolar disorder begins in late adolescence or early adulthood.

    Know more:TDAH vs Trastorno Bipolar

  • What triggers a person with borderline personality disorder?

    BPD mood swings are commonly triggered by criticism, fear of abandonment, fights with friends or family, job loss, rejection, romantic problems, and traumatic memories.

    Know more:What triggers a person with BPD?

  • What is splitting in borderline personality disorder?

    Splitting (black and white thinking) is the inability to have opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs. It is an all or nothing attitude in which someone or something is always good or always bad. It is a defense mechanism that can lead to acting, projecting, denying, or feeling omnipotent.

    Know more:Understanding the division of BPD

    (Video) Bipolar, Borderline or Both? Diagnostic/Formulation Issues in Mood and Personality Disorders


(Kati Morton)
2. Can You Have Bipolar Disorder + Borderline Personality? |Here’s Why It Matters
(Dr. Tracey Marks)
3. ADHD Vs Bipolar Disorder - How To Tell The Difference
(Dr. Tracey Marks)
4. Bipolar Disorder vs Borderline Personality Disorder [Differences & How to Spot Them]
5. Borderline Personality Disorder vs Bipolar Disorder – How to tell the difference
6. What It's Like When BPD Is Misdiagnosed as Bipolar Disorder


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated: 10/29/2023

Views: 6646

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.