Getting the diagnosis of bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder right is important to ensure that patients receive the correct treatment for their condition and not a treatment that could potentially be harmful in the long term.
- Bipolar disorder is a recurrent mood disorder with generally good functioning between episodes. Mood stabilisers are the mainstay of treatment for patients with this condition.
- Borderline personality disorder is a long-term disorder characterised by affective instability, with recurrent depressive episodes and chronically poor functioning. The mainstay of treatment for this condition is psychotherapeutic therapies.
- The two conditions can be difficult to distinguish but accurate diagnosis is crucial to the patient receiving the most effective, evidence-based treatment.
- The key to making the correct diagnosis is in careful history taking with attention paid to intermorbid functioning and family history.
- Comorbidity of these conditions can occur and makes diagnosis and the effective delivery of treatment more difficult.