Even though Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder share similar symptoms they are completely different conditions with their own unique treatments. Diagnosing both of these disorders still remains a problem.
Borderline Personality Disorder involves the following
- Mood swings
- Impulsiveness, reckless spending
- Low self-esteem and self worth
- Suicidal tendencies, self harm, cutting
- Fear of abandonment by family and friends
- Intense moods of anger, depression, irritability, and emptiness that can last for days
- Symptoms are persistent and ongoing
- 75% of Borderline Personality patients are women
- Genetics, environment and brain function can play a role in BPD
- BPD is usually triggered
- It’s difficult to diagnose correctly
Bipolar Disorder involves the following
- Extreme highs: feelings of excitement, grandiosity, high energy, rapid speech
- Low points: days of deep depression and fatigue where you can’t focus or be productive
- Breaks between highs and lows with a mid range mood where most of the symptoms are not present (impulsiveness, anger, irritability, extreme emotion)
To get an accurate diagnosis of either disorder an extensive medical history is needed along with as much personal background information the patient is capable of giving. There are also some diagnostic tests that can be done. Brain scans have shown patients with Bipolar Disorder have the same brain abnormalities but this is not an absolute and not used as a diagnostic tool.
There’s a long way to go. Up to 69% of Bipolar patients are misdiagnosed at the start. Up to 1/3 stay that way.One in five patients show no improvement at all with any medications. Many are diagnosed with Depression and are given Antidepressants that can be dangerous.Antidepressants used on their own can cause a cycle of mania to depression that continues over and over again.
If a patient has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, but the problem is actually Bipolar Disorder, mood stabilizers are the best option. No harm, no foul.
Lithium affects the flow of sodium through nerve and muscle cells in the body. Sodium affects mania and can help with manic episodes in Bipolar Disorder. It usually takes about 3 weeks to see signs of improvement. You will probably have to have your blood monitored because it can effect your liver and kidneys.
I am biased against Lithium. I’ve seen too many family members on it. They all had the same mannerisms. Slurred or slowed speech, almost sounding drunk, they were listless or zombie like, they were unaware of their surroundings. I’m not talking about one or two, I’m talking 5. (You all knew I have a family history) It’s why when I was first diagnosed I told my Doctor before he had a chance that I refused to take Lithium. Which turned out to be a good thing considering my kidneys were shot and I didn’t know it.
I have tried many drugs for Bipolar, Conversion Disorder, and Anxiety. My brain is different and because I have Celiac and Kidney Disease the way I process medications is different. It took a long time to get where I am. So I am going to talk about the mood stabilizer I find most effective and why.
TOPIRAMATE (TOPAMAX) *love how it says it’s spelled wrong when I have the bottle in front of me*
The primary use for Topiramate is for seizures. Psychiatrists prescribe it when other mood stabilizers are not effective. The starting dose is usually 12.5 or 25 milligrams either once or twice a day. This increases each week until reaching a level the patient responds to, usually 100 to 200 milligrams a day. Some people do not need more than 50mg per day.
- More effective for rapid cycling and mixed bipolar states
- Most patients feel the effects starting within days
- Reduces alcohol cravings or thoughts of alcohol
- Reduces headaches
- The only mood stabilizer proven to relieve symptoms of PTSD
- Patients who were unable to take antidepressants before because of mania or mixed episodes can do so with this mood stabilizer
There is one problem. If your Doctor has no idea what they are doing than you might have trouble. The correct dose is key. When my kidneys failed, no one could tell me how it would change the way my medications worked. I had to figure out the right dosage on my own. I finally did and I’m getting back on track.