Aside from obvious symptoms there are also some other common reasons that people with BPD are often misdiagnosed with Bipolar disorder.
#1. Insurance companies often won’t cover treatment or therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder because while a lot of progress has been made and there is still some stigma and treatment isn’t as straightforward as with other Axis-I Disorders. Bipolar Disorder however is an Axis-I disorder and is considered to be highly treatable. With both disorders having the ear mark of affective instability, mood swings, etc. It’s an easy enough switch to pull off.
#2. Many psychiatrists and therapists simply don’t like to diagnose Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve talked about this before. With the stigma surrounding BPD, professionals and clinicians often don’t want to work with people that have BPD and psychiatrists don’t want to “leave a mark” on their patients that will medically trail them for the rest of their lives. Diagnosing with Bipolar instead of Borderline is done because they’re “basically” similar and “some treatment is better than no treatment”… which is lazy.. It may be well intentioned but it’s basically well intentioned bullshit.
#3. Many psychiatrists make diagnosis within the first meeting or two of seeing a new patient. Often times this diagnosis is based off of answers filled out on a couple questionnaires. Unless you have a lot of experience with both Bipolar and Borderline it can be very difficult to tell the difference between the two. And if you haven’t spent a lot of time with someone that is Borderline in general you not going to have a clear picture of how they cycle between moods and the length of time that it takes for them to cycle. It’s very important that a clinician be familiar enough to distinguish between Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder, to be familiar with BOTH disorders to properly diagnose either I would imagine. This is probably the biggest problem.
#4. I’ve been searching and searching and searching for material to talk about the comorbidity of Bipolar and Borderline PD. In fact it’s probably MIS-diagnosed as co-morbid more often than it actually occurs as comorbid. However, I did find one intriguing little article that I shall follow up with shortly and then try to follow that one up with even more information….
BTW, in case you’re curious, I’ve been feeling better lately. I’ve been keeping myself as busy as humanly possible, and maybe the meds are helping? Idk.