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Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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What is the difference between being bipolar or having borderline

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What is the difference between being bipolar or having borderline personality disorder? How can one psychologist diagnose me as one and another diagnose me with the other? Who is right? Are the treatments the same? Should I see a different psychologist as a tie breaker? (Now these diagnoses are 6 years apart. BPD was when I was 20 and Bipolar is what my current therapist is thinking) Or should I see a psychiatrist and have them decide?
Oh My goodness, where to start?

In fairness to your doctors, BPD and bipolar are similar enough that sometimes the diagnosis gets confused.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by labile moods, conflicted and unstable relatioships, some type of self harming behavior, and a sense of loneliness, emptiness, and fear of intimacy. BPD is hard to treat without long term group therapy, called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Medications may address the symptoms, but will not cure BPD by themselves.

Bipolar disorder is a chemical imbalance of the brain.   It is characterized by severe depressions, alternative with manic moods. The interval is not predictable. It is readily controlled with mood stabilizers, or a combination of medications. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help with managing the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Pristiq is the newest antidepressant on the market. It works on serotonin and norepinephrine. Your therapist must think you are bipolar because Pristiq may well put you into a manic state if you take it without a mood stabilizer.

If you are not sure whom to believe, I think the treatments are different enough for these two disorders, that you should get a consult with a psychiatrist, who can then put you on the proper medication.

Hormones may be an issue, but both BPD and bipolar disorder will exist independent of any hormonal imbalance you may have.
Please let me know if you have questions about anything I have said.
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