top of page
  • Christine

Is Borderline Personality Disorder Related To Bipolar Disorder?

Girl with borderline personality disorder having friction in a relationship.
Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder usually have trouble with relationaships.

Although individuals with Bipolar Disorder can also have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) the two are distinct diagnoses. Bipolar Disorder causes extreme fluctuations in mood. Many people will experience both depression and hypomania/mania. Depression consists of low mood, lack of motivation and energy, and hopeless and worthless feelings. Mania is when your mood is significantly elevated. One thinks that everything in life is amazing and comes with racing thoughts, increased activity, and the need for less food and sleep. This is not a comprehensive list of symptoms just a brief overview.

At one point in my journey, a psychiatrist diagnosed me with BPD along with my bipolar status. I meet a few of the criteria for diagnosis. BPD and bipolar do not always coexist. Marcia Linehan created DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) to help borderline clients live better lives. Now DBT is used for many mental health issues. I have been through the DBT program several times and it proves to be very effective for me.

Diagnosis of BPD

There are nine criteria, five of which must be present for diagnosis.

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

  2. Unstable and intense interpersonal relationships.

  3. Lack of clear sense of identity.

  4. Impulsiveness in potentially self-damaging behaviors, such as substance abuse, sex, shoplifting, reckless driving, binge eating.

  5. Recurrent suicidal threats or gestures, or self-mutilating behaviors.

  6. Severe mood shifts and extreme reactivity to situational stresses.

  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.

  8. Frequent and inappropriate displays of anger.

  9. Transient, stress-related feelings of unreality or paranoia.

If you think you meet the criteria for BPD see a doctor for a diagnosis if any. The following book was a great resource for me when I was told I had BPD: "I Hate You - Don't Leave Me Understanding the Borderline Personality" by Jerold J. Kreisman MD, and Hal Straus. You are not alone. And there is help out there.

Take good care,


If my fear had simply been removed, I might never have known that I am capable of acting on my own behalf. -- Courage to Change


bottom of page