eli5 difference between bpd and bipolar disorder.

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eli5 difference between bpd and bipolar disorder.

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Bpd- A mental disorder characterized by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.

Bipolar- a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

I know I didn’t explain like you’re five but it shouldn’t be too hard to figure this one out

These are often confused in the public mind, partly because of how imprecisely they are described. While the symptoms are different, it’s more helpful to think about the time course and whether the symptoms represent how the person normally acts or not. Let’s start with some definitions:

*Bipolar disorder: **Mood episodes (that is, clear and distinct changes from baseline lasting at least days if not weeks to months**) typically alternating between serious mood elevations with altered behavior (mania or hypomania, depending on severity) and serious depressed mood. People focus on the “big mood extremes” but it’s the marked and long-lasting changes from their normal baseline that are distinctive. These are people who have abrupt periods of acting unlike themselves, talking rapidly/sleeping minimally for days yet having excessive energy/taking risks/feeling abnormally grand/happy/irritable, as well as often longer periods of marked depression.

*Borderline personality disorder: **Chronic (so this is their normal baseline) mood dysregulation and serious interpersonal issues.** These are often people with serious early-life trauma who struggle with rapid mood fluctuations throughout the day, react very badly to any sense of abandonment, harm themselves, and feel empty without a sense of identity. Their relationships are unstable, swinging from love to hate and back again.

People on the street will often refer to people with chronic “mood swings” of seconds/minutes/hours as “bipolar,” but this is very different from the actual diagnosis, and ironically a lot closer to borderline personality disorder. Many people with bipolar disorder do also have some hour-to-hour mood dysregulation, but that’s not what makes the diagnosis.

There is no medication for bpd. It manifests all the time- there are no seasons or times when there is a change. Bipolar can be medicated. A medicated or non symptomatic bipolar is usually easier to live with than someone with bpd.