Mood swings are a natural part of human beings. A mood swing is characterized by rapid changes in emotional state. It is common and natural for people to feel happy some times and sad at other times. However, if an individual shows signs of frequent shifts in his mood, he might be suffering from a psychological or mental health condition and might need a medical attention.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), around 9.5 percent of the U.S. population experiences a mood disorder in a year, such as depression, bipolar disorder, etc. Bipolar disorder (BD) is a mental condition that causes changes in mood, depression and irritation in an individual.
Bipolar disorder is often confused with a similar sounding mental illness borderline personality disorder (BPD), which is characterized by instability in moods and unstable behavior and relationships. According to the NIMH, an estimated 2.6 percent of the U.S. adult population has BD, whereas BPD affects 1.6 percent of the country’s adult population.
The two disorders – BD and BPD – are confusing as they both involve mood shifts and may have similar symptoms. However, diagnosing the disorders can be easier if one develops a clear understanding of the conditions. Therefore, as a part of our series “Distinguishing similar mental disorders,” here we discuss the differences between BD and BPD in order to attain better understanding of both the problems.
Affective disturbance, impulsivity, cognitive problems and unstable relationships are the four
basic symptoms of BPD. In addition to the severe mood swings, which are generally short-lived, an individual with BPD remains under stress, has low self-esteem and exhibits suicidal thoughts.
While many of the BD symptoms are similar to those of BPD, the major symptom of developing BD is the highs and lows in an individual’s mood that often last for long, maybe a week, month or even longer.
An individual with BPD considers his depression as a mental state with elements of anger and frustration. A person with BD feels guilty and keeps thinking about the perceived past mistakes.
- Interpersonal interaction
The symptoms of BPD are often triggered by interpersonal interactions with other people. In other words, the moods in an individual with BPD are dependent on interpersonal events, like abandonment, frustration or rejection. On the other hand, symptoms of BD can be seen in the complete absence of interpersonal interaction.
- Impact on personal life
BPD can lead to identity diffusion in an individual, which in turn makes him change his job, goals and aim frequently. A person with BD suffers from damaged relationships, poor job performance and sometimes even commits suicide.
An individual diagnosed with BPD undergoes a long treatment that involves psychotherapies, like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP). Medications work best when they are combined with the therapies.
BD is a lifelong illness and therefore it is ensured that the medications are prescribed with utmost care. Medications for mood disorder, depression and irritation combined with therapy can treat the disorder.
Path to recovery
Diagnosing BD and BPD can be a difficult task. But it is essential that a mental illness is diagnosed at the earliest so that the right treatment can be provided on time.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental illness, the Florida Mental Health Helpline can help you. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online with our experts who can guide you with the complete details about the best centers for mental disorder treatment in Florida.
Read the first article of the series: Distinguishing similar mental disorders: OCD and OCPD