How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC Your Own ...

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5556
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
54658078
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Is it possible to be diagnosed with both Borderline Personality

Customer Question

Is it possible to be diagnosed with both Borderline Personality Disorder AND Bipolar Disorder?

Sue
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

Hi, and thank you for requesting my help.

 

You can have both disorders, but because they overlap so much it is probably unlikely. It would take a very thorough evaluation to determine that you do indeed have two separate disorders or they are occurring at the same time.

 

Bipolar is considered what is called an Axis I disorder. That means it is considered a major disorder. Borderline is an Axis II disorder, which is considered a personality disorder. You can have both an Axis I and Axis II at the same time, but because you are not sure you even have Bipolar, it could be that you have one or the other instead of both at the same time.

 

Since the symptoms are so similar, it may be hard to determine which one you have. But Bipolar is marked by extreme highs and lows. Borderline is also marked by severe mood swings, but they tend to be other moods including depression and mania. Also, if you have Borderline, you may cycle faster. People with Borderline are more dependent in personality than people with Bipolar, either in a good way or bad. And finally, someone with Bipolar will become depressed and be very depressed, rather than someone who has Borderline who will go back and forth with anger, sadness (not depression), and other emotions. Bipolar is either depression or mania, not other emotions.

 

I hope this helps,

Kate

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry, I am so confused - not by your answer but about me!

 

I had my antidepressants withdrawn 2-3 months ago because the consultant said there was still a question mark over whether I have bipolar. I have since had an assessment with a psychotherapist who says I am showing traits of a personality disorder (not sure which one). I have spoken to my cpn today who doesn't understand why they don't just tell me what's wrong with me!

 

I tend to have a 'hyper' time, which lasts around 2-3 weeks at a time, which is accompanied by my head 'buzzing' and this is followed by a period of 2-3 months where I am in a deep depression, to the point that I feel suicidal and regularly self harm.

 

At the moment I seem to have a bit of a combination of both ... I have had high energy levels for the last 2-3 weeks, but the last week of this my mood has crashed through the floor. The energy levels are decreasing, but my mood can't get much lower.

 

All I want is for them to tell me what's wrong with me. They keep saying it's all about symptom control, but I NEED to know because I want to understand why I feel as bad as I do!

 

One doctor says I am describing bipolar and then another one says it's borderline. I understand that the symptoms are very similar but it's now been 18 months that I have been under the care of the mental health team and I feel no closer to having a diagnosis.

 

I can't carry on like this. This depression is slowly killing me ... I don't feel I can fight it much longer.

 

Sorry, that was a bit long-winded.

 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

No, that is fine. I am glad you told me what you are experiencing.

 

Though it would be ideal for me to be able to meet with you to provide you with a diagnosis, I will do the best I can with what you told me.

 

It sounds to me like you have Bipolar. You are not describing any other emotions such as anger, rage or feeling abandoned by others. Self harm is a symptom of Borderline, which may be confusing to clinicians that you are seeing. But your main symptom is up and down moods, from deep depression to mania. This indicates Bipolar.

 

There are many cases in which a person has some symptoms of a disorder, but does not meet the criteria to actually be diagnosed with the disorder. That may be what is happening with you. You may have traits of Borderline, but not enough to actually have it.

 

I am going to provide you with links to websites that have reliable information on both disorders. Hopefully, they will help you figure out what you do have. At the very least, they could help you list your symptoms more clearly so next time you see someone, you can provide a detailed account of your symptoms. Here are the links:

 

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/symptoms-of-borderline-personality-disorder/

 

http://helpguide.org/mental/bipolar_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm

 

The next time you see someone, let them know you want your diagnosis and a copy of your psychological evaluation. You have a right to that information. If you have any trouble getting the information, you can enlist the assistance of your doctor or you can contact the local mental health advocate or legal services.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5556
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for that.

 

I told the cpn today that I have had the 'buzzing' head again, but it can't be blamed on the antidepressants this time. I am due to see the consultant in 5 weeks time for a full medication review; however, she feels I need to be seen by someone next week, so I will look at the links you have provided and highlight the symptoms I feel I have in each disorder.

 

I don't particularly want to have either disorder, so it's not about wanting to be labelled ... I am just the sort of person that needs to understand something!

 

Thanks again.

 

Sue

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
One last question please ... is it normal to NOT be given antidepressants with bipolar or borderline? They took me off them last year, then decided I needed them again when my depression got bad and now they have removed them again, but are trying to decide whether I need them again because of my depression. What I don't want is to yo-yo on and off of them.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 3 years ago.

The typical medication for Bipolar is Lithium. That helps control the ups and downs and levels out the mood swings.

 

To take away the anti depressants is unusual, especially if you are feeling deeply depressed. You should be on something to help you cope. Sometimes the doctor will take you off medication to help see your symptoms more clearly if the diagnosis is hard to pinpoint, but you should not be off for a long period of time, only long enough to diagnose you. But it does not sound like that is what they are doing in your case.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5556
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Mental Health Professional
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Mental Health Professional
5556 Satisfied Customers
Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.