The Difference Between BPD Vs Bipolar, Side Effects & Causes

Mental health rehabilitation plays a crucial role in helping individuals overcome the challenges associated with various conditions. Two disorders that often lead to confusion are Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder. Although both conditions affect an individual’s emotional well-being, they are distinct in their symptoms, causes, and treatment approaches. Understanding the key differences between BPD and Bipolar Disorder is essential for effective rehabilitation, enabling individuals to receive the targeted support they need. In this article, we delve into the contrasting aspects of these two conditions, shedding light on their unique characteristics and the specific approaches employed in mental health rehabilitation for each disorder.

What Are BPD Vs Bipolar?

BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and Bipolar Disorder are two distinct mental health conditions, each with its unique characteristics and impact on an individual’s life. Here’s a brief overview of each:

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a multifaceted mental health condition marked by intense and unstable emotions, challenges in relationships, and a distorted self-image. Individuals with BPD commonly grapple with a profound fear of abandonment, exhibit impulsive behaviors, engage in self-harm, and contend with mood swings.

People with BPD may perceive situations in extremes, struggle with chronic feelings of emptiness, and find it challenging to regulate their emotions. Typically emerging in early adulthood, BPD can pose difficulties in multiple aspects of life, impacting work, relationships, and self-esteem.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder, previously known as manic-depressive illness, is characterized by alternating periods of extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). During manic episodes, individuals with Bipolar Disorder experience elevated mood, heightened energy levels, and impulsive behaviors. These are followed by depressive episodes marked by intense sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest.

Bipolar Disorder can significantly impact daily functioning, relationships, and overall quality of life. It often necessitates long-term management and treatment to help individuals stabilize their moods and prevent relapses.

While both BPD and Bipolar Disorder involve mood dysregulation, they differ in the duration and pattern of mood disturbances. BPD primarily affects emotions, self-perception, and interpersonal relationships, whereas distinct episodes of mania and depression characterize Bipolar Disorder. Understanding these distinctions is vital for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning in mental health rehabilitation.

Difference Between Bipolar And BPD

Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Mood SwingsDistinct episodes of mania and depressionThe tendency for impulsive actions in various situations
Duration of Mood EpisodesLasting days to weeksMay change rapidly within hours or days
Self-ImageRelatively stable self-imageUnstable self-image and sense of identity
ImpulsivityMay exhibit impulsive behaviors during manic episodesIt may not be a prominent feature
Fear of AbandonmentMay not be a prominent featureIntense fear of abandonment and difficulties in relationships
Self-Harming BehaviorLess commonly associatedHigher likelihood of engaging in self-harming actions
Relationship PatternsMay experience disruptions due to mood episodesDifficulty maintaining stable relationships
Emotional RegulationChallenges in regulating emotions during episodesDifficulty regulating emotions consistently
Treatment ApproachMedication, psychotherapy, and mood stabilizersDialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), psychotherapy, and skill-building approaches

Do I Have BPD Or Bipolar?

Clarity and insight into one’s mental health are essential for effective treatment and support. Individuals dealing with mood disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder may find a specialized BPD and Bipolar Test beneficial in assessing potential symptoms and patterns. It’s important to note that while this test can offer valuable insights, it is not a substitute for an accurate diagnosis provided by a qualified mental health professional.

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  1. Which Is Worse Bipolar Or BPD?

    It is important to note that comparing the severity of different mental health conditions can be challenging, as their impact varies greatly from person to person. Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder can significantly disrupt a person’s life and cause immense distress.

    Distinct episodes of mania and depression characterize Bipolar Disorder, while intense emotional instability, relationship difficulties, and a distorted self-image characterize BPD. The severity of symptoms and their impact on daily functioning can vary for individuals with either disorder. It is crucial to consult with a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis, personalized assessment, and appropriate treatment options tailored to individual needs.

  2. Are Bipolar 2 Vs BPD The Same?

    BPD Vs Bipolar II are distinct mental health conditions with unique characteristics. Bipolar 2 Disorder is a subtype of Bipolar Disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of depressive symptoms and hypomanic episodes that are less severe than full-blown mania. Individuals with Bipolar 2 experience significant shifts in mood and energy levels.

    On the other hand, BPD is characterized by emotional instability, relationship difficulties, impulsivity, and a fragile sense of self. While both disorders involve mood dysregulation, they have distinct diagnostic criteria and treatment approaches. It is essential to consult with a mental health professional to accurately differentiate between the two conditions and receive the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

  3. Is BPD And Bipolar The Same?

    No, BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and Bipolar Disorder are different. They are two distinct mental health conditions with different diagnostic criteria, symptoms, and treatment approaches. Bipolar Disorder is characterized by episodic shifts between periods of mania (elevated mood and increased energy) and depression (intense sadness and low energy).

    In contrast, BPD is a personality disorder characterized by emotional instability, relationship difficulties, impulsivity, and a fragile sense of self. While both disorders involve mood dysregulation, they manifest differently and require tailored treatment strategies. A qualified mental health professional can provide a thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis to determine which condition is present and guide appropriate treatment.

Borderline Personality Disorder Vs Bipolar Factsheet

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

  • Mood Episodes: Characterized by distinct episodes of mania/hypomania and depression.
  • Duration: Mood episodes can last for days, weeks, or months.
  • Triggers: Episodes can occur without external triggers, and mood shifts are often unrelated to specific events.
  • Self-Image: Individuals typically have a stable sense of self and identity.
  • Impulsivity: Impulsive behaviors may occur during manic episodes.
  • Treatment: Mood-stabilizing medications are often prescribed, along with psychotherapy.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Symptoms

  • Mood Fluctuations: Rapid and reactive mood swings often trigger interpersonal stressors.
  • Duration: Mood shifts are shorter, lasting hours to a few days.
  • Triggers: Mood swings are closely tied to interpersonal relationships and are triggered by abandonment, rejection, or conflict.
  • Self-Image: Individuals struggle with a shifting self-image and an unstable identity.
  • Impulsivity: Impulsive and self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm or substance abuse, are more common.
  • Treatment: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and other forms of psychotherapy are often used, along with medication for co-occurring conditions.

BPD Treatments

BPD was initially believed to be incurable. However, this isn’t the case because we know that BPD can be effectively treated. Therapy helps many BPD patients who are distressed to feel better.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy For BPD Vs Bipolar

Psychologist Marsha Linehan developed dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). This treatment teaches you to deal with challenging and overwhelming emotions. The most popular method of treating BPD is DBT. Each skill set aids in the reduction of BPD symptoms.

Dialectical behavioral therapy imparts four essential skill sets to its patients:

  • Interpersonal effectiveness.
  • Emotional regulation.
  • Distress tolerance.
  • Mindfulness.

Mentalization-Based Therapy

Mentalization-based therapy helps you develop an awareness of your inner state. In mentalization-based treatment, fostering empathy for other people’s experiences is a crucial goal.

According to research published in 2018, this therapy may dramatically lessen the severity of BPD symptoms and co-existing diseases while enhancing the quality of life. However, the authors point out that additional study is still required.


No single medication is effective for BPD, but medications may relieve some symptoms.

As an illustration, medicines may support mood stabilization. Discuss your symptoms with a doctor if you believe medication could help you.

Bipolar Disorder Vs BPD Statistics

Bipolar disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are distinct mental health disorders, although they may share some symptoms. While bipolar disorder affects approximately 2.4% of the global population, BPD is estimated to impact around 1-2% of individuals worldwide. The onset of bipolar disorder is typically in late adolescence or early adulthood, with an average age of around 25. In contrast, BPD usually manifests in early adulthood, with an average age of onset at 18.

Gender differences exist between the two conditions. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, while BPD is more commonly diagnosed in women, with a ratio of about 3:1 (women to men). Both disorders carry a significant risk of suicide, with individuals with bipolar disorder having a higher risk (15-20%) than those with BPD (10%). Additionally, bipolar disorder and BPD often co-occur with other mental health issues, underscoring the importance of accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment.


The global prevalence of the bipolar disorder

Source: CDC

25 years

Bipolar disorder typically emerges in late adolescence or early adulthood

Source: NIMH


BPD is more commonly diagnosed in females

Source: NIH

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An individual can have both Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder simultaneously. This is comorbidity, where two or more mental health conditions coexist in the same person.
An individual can have both BPD Vs Bipolar simultaneously. This is comorbidity, where two or more mental health conditions coexist in the same person.

Can You Have BPD And Bipolar?

Yes, an individual can experience both Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder simultaneously. This co-occurrence, known as comorbidity, occurs when two or more mental health conditions coexist in the same person. Comorbidity between BPD and Bipolar Disorder is not uncommon, and research suggests a higher prevalence of Bipolar Disorder among individuals with BPD compared to the general population.

When someone has both BPD and Bipolar Disorder, their symptoms and experiences can become more complex and challenging to manage. The emotional dysregulation and relationship difficulties associated with BPD can interact with the mood swings and episodes of mania and depression seen in Bipolar Disorder. This comorbidity may result in increased symptom severity, more significant functional impairment, and a higher risk of self-harm or suicidal behavior.

Seeking professional help is crucial for individuals experiencing symptoms of both Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder. It is recommended to consult with mental health providers who have expertise in diagnosing and treating comorbid conditions. Through a comprehensive assessment, healthcare professionals can develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses both disorders’ specific needs and challenges. This approach aims to improve overall mental health and enhance the individual’s quality of life.

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We Level Up BPD Vs Bipolar Disorder Treatments

The treatment approaches for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder vary due to the distinct characteristics and symptomatology of each condition. Here’s an overview of commonly employed treatment options for each disorder:

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Treatment:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT is specifically designed for BPD. It focuses on developing skills for emotion regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindfulness. DBT helps individuals with BPD control their emotions, manage impulsive behaviors, and improve their relationships.
  • Individual Psychotherapy: Various forms of individual therapy, such as psychodynamic therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can be beneficial in treating BPD. These therapies explore underlying issues, address dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors, and promote healthier coping strategies.
  • Medication: While there are no specific medications approved for BPD, certain medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or antipsychotics may be prescribed to target particular symptoms like depression, anxiety, or impulsivity that often co-occur with BPD.
The treatment approaches for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder differ due to each condition's unique characteristics and symptomatology.
The treatment approaches for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder differ due to each condition’s unique characteristics and symptomatology.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment:

  • Medication: Medications play a central role in managing Bipolar Disorder. Mood stabilizers, such as lithium or anticonvulsants, are commonly prescribed to stabilize mood and prevent manic or depressive episodes. Sometimes, antipsychotic medications or antidepressants may be used with mood stabilizers.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can be beneficial in managing Bipolar Disorder. It helps individuals recognize and modify unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors, develop coping strategies, and improve overall functioning.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Lifestyle factors like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, managing stress levels, and engaging in healthy habits (exercise, balanced diet, avoiding substance abuse) can contribute to mood stability and overall well-being for individuals with Bipolar Disorder.

We Level Up Texas creates personalized treatment plans, taking into account the individual’s specific symptoms, needs, and preferences. Collaborating with mental health professionals to develop a comprehensive treatment plan is essential for managing both Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Bipolar Disorder effectively.

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We Level Up Texas Dual Diagnosis Treatment

At We Level Up Texas, we recognize the challenges that can arise when mental health conditions and substance use disorders coexist. Dual diagnosis refers to the simultaneous presence of a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Bipolar Disorder. Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program is tailored to address these complex needs, employing an integrated and holistic approach.

Our program begins with a thorough assessment conducted by our experienced mental health professionals to understand each individual’s unique circumstances, including mental health symptoms, substance use patterns, and underlying factors contributing to the dual diagnosis. We then create a personalized treatment plan that concurrently addresses both disorders.

Utilizing evidence-based therapies like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), our skilled therapists target the specific challenges associated with co-occurring disorders, enhancing coping skills, improving emotional regulation, and promoting healthier thinking and behavior patterns.

Medication management is an integral part of our program, especially for conditions like Bipolar Disorder. Our psychiatrists work closely with clients to assess medication needs, monitor effectiveness, and ensure the safest and most appropriate medication regimens are in place.

Our supportive environment fosters connections among individuals facing dual diagnosis, with group therapy sessions and support groups providing opportunities to share experiences, gain insights, and build a strong support network.

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Begin with a free call to an addiction & behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

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Search We Level Up Texas Bipolar Vs BPD Resources
  1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – BPD Vs Bipolar Borderline Personality Disorder:
  2. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) – BPD Vs Bipolar Bipolar Disorder:
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – BPD Vs Bipolar Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment:
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Bipolar Disorder Treatment:
  5. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – Borderline Personality Disorder:
  6. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) – Bipolar Disorder:
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Co-Occurring Disorders:
  8. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide:
  9. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – Find Treatment:
  10. National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) – Dual Diagnosis: