Is having Borderline Personality Disorder worse than Bipolar Disorder?
Not forgetting that each human being is a unique individual and there are "degrees" a plenty, I would say that BPD is worse. Some definitions say that the "borderline" is way to say that those with the complex border between several types of personality disorders. I wouldn't have thought that if I didn't read it. My experience of being the unwitting partner of a very hard BPD case woman resulted in me eventually coming to the sense that the borderline, as a stipulation, is a matter of not having a clear and consistent identity-that coping with feelings involves evading culpability for bringing conflict to a relationship by becoming another iteration that truly believes its the innocent victim. And I have not only received a lot of upvotes, I've read that men in my position share similar stories whereas clinicians may adhere more to definitions.
Bipolar disorder is physiological whereas BPD is a condition of arrested development. Persons who are bipolar can much more readily benefit from medicine. Lithium for instance is often used and is not even a "drug"-it is an "element". You'll recognize it being associated with batteries. Indeed it is given to address the electrical component of our brain's "engine"-the movement of neurotransmitters across a tiny space between axons and neurons. If this is off in the slightest, a person will manifest symptoms-sometimes "mania", other times dysphoria (depression). This will complicate any life but it is less complex and more easily diagnosable than BPD. There is no "fix" in medicine for BPD. There are meds that can help a person change if they truly accept that the causes of their troubles in relationships are in them and not everyone else. And having an identity fracture can mean unawareness of things done and said in other iterations.
Because of my painful experience which went on and on because I had no knowledge whatsoever of the nature of the "complex" that was at issue, I have reservations about the number of people claiming to have been diagnosed with BPD these days. In my partner the one constant was that she would rather invent sub-personalities to hide in than take admit that there is something wrong with her thinking and manner. That is surely a coping mechanism that comes from neglect and/or abuse as a child. And people in general use themselves as the measurement for what they think true of other people. Thus, the willingness to yield to psychoanalysis-to accept that who they are is a complex exception to the rules most people adhere to-is a recipe for resistance. Though the diagnosis may be slapped on liberally these days, there is nothing that says persons diagnosed with BPD really understand what it means much less that they know what to do to remedy their complex. When I was in couples counseling, my g/f just nervously laughed when it was laid out for her what had happened in an incident. It was as if she knew it was true but was resigned to its illogic. To me it wasn't funny. It was us trying to save our life together. Given that violence eventually caused me to shut her out forever, it's possible that one of us could be dead and the other in jail. She just giggled when confronted with her complex.
In cases of extreme presentation, it is nearly impossible to answer this question as being unable to live antyhing close to a normal life with normal human relationships is devastating no matter what the cause; and arguing about which is worse is like arguing about the worst way to die. The reality is that at the end of the experience the outcome sucks rocks.
When talking about less extreme presentations, it gets trickier. Personality Disorders are not as responsive to medications as BPD can be. But people with personality disorders who know they have such disorders and want to minimize impacts have a better chance of limiting the impact of their disease through hard work, diligence and strength of will - by really focusing on behavioral techniques, self-awareness, meta-cognition, attending appropriate behavioral therapies and so forth.
Meanwhile, the person with BPD can gain some from all those techniques, but the nature of the disease itself means literally attacks the psychological stamina required to get through the day: either lowering it to the point where merely functioning can be a true struggle (in depressive cycles) to raising it so out of control that the person feels unrealistically limitless in their abilities. So non-pharmacological therapies have beneficial, but often more limited, impacts.
For the Personality Disorder patient the good news is they don't have to put up with many medication side-effects. The bad news is this is because few medications have much better than placebo effects on personality disorder patients. They get some relief from various meds, but ultimately, they just aren't that effective comparatively speaking.
BPD patients, however, can greatly benefit from pharmaceutical treatments - to the point that even fairly severe presentations can live quite normal lives. But this comes at the cost of putting up with a host of really nasty side-effects. The big challenge for BPD treatment regimens is most frequently continued compliance. BPD patients just tend to get off their meds.
These disorders really are different in how they respond to treatment, and best treatment impact on the individual, both positive and negative. So which is "worse," from a clinical perspective is really about which set of impacts the particular patient can tolerate the best. And since you can't randomly assign mental illnesses to patients in order to see how they respond, it isn't really a question that can be answered in some objective way.
From the therapists' point of view: most psychiatrists. if pressed, would admit they are much happier to treat a BPD patient than a personality disorder patient, largely because the patient is much more likely to respond very well to the right pharmaceuticals. So the psychiatrist has lots of tools to help the patient and can be more confident that they can create a positive outcome for the individual. Meanwhile, most psychologists and therapists specializing in behavioral therapies like CBT and DBT would likely be happier to treat a willing patient with a personality disorder for the same reason - their best tools give them more hope of being really able to help.
So without defining "worse" the question really has no answer.
I've read most of the answers and my answer is similar. The stigma of having the diagnosis of either Disorder is completely devastating to anybody. When I was diagnosed with a Personality disorder in 2010 I was completely SHOCKED. I have a degree in Mental Health, love Abnormal Psychology, and was a Residential Manager of a Group Home. (I guess I'm "high functioning" for my illness). But since then I've lost friends because I've told them of my diagnosis!! They never looked back.
The other issue was about informing my other doctors about my diagnosis. Aferwards all my records at my PCP's office had my diagnosis typed in bold capital letters. Everytime I went there even daily papers I would see it and so would every one else. I noticed the office staff treating me differently. I asked them to take it off the list repeatedly and they did not. I ended up changing doctors because of it.
Anyway. Back to your question. I always thought Borderlines were crazy people. But now that I know a couple I can safely say some are not! That is the way Hollywood portrays them. Both personality disorders have there extremes in certain people. (Mild, moderate and severe cases) So It all depends on how emotionally healthy a certain person is on their journey to wellness. (If they are in therapy, on medications etc).
It's hard to determine because everyone is so different. Especially because there's different types of bipolar disorder as well. I have bipolar depressive so i also experience hypomania but mostly depressive episodes. Ive noticed that my episodes are triggered by stress so honestly as long as i don't let myself get stressed, it is VERY manageable. I don't have to take medication as i prefer not to. I do have some SRIs just in case i get TOO depressed, as that does happen. I also actually enjoy my manic episodes because it's hypomania so it's basically EXTREME confidence, energy, feeling like you're invincible, etc. although i has experienced hyper sexuality from manic episodes, it wasn't to the point where i was sleeping around, ever. I'm mostly home during my manic episodes (because i know if i go out i might do stupid dangerous shit so i just stay tf home) and I'll just ramble and ramble to my boyfriend who understands what is happening so, definitely not a bad time. My bipolar disorder is extremely manageable. The friends i have met through wards that have borderline personality, go through HELL. I have friends who have both conditions and from what I've noticed by observing them and talking to them on a personal level, the ones with borderline have a tougher time. Even if you take medication, it might not completely help you. With bipolar since it's very chemically based (basically chemical imbalances in one area or another or both), at least you can treat them easily with medication. Borderline is very tricky and fucks with your head so bad. I'm gonna have to say borderline is worse. However remember, i find my bipolar disorder very manageable, everyone has a difference experience and type. I would have to say it depends on the person but I've neber met one person who had BPD that didn't/doesn't suffer tremendously from it. Like other users have said, it's very easy to stereotype and stigmatize mental disorders because the way you learn about them in basic level courses is "if you have this then you act like this" but that's so untrue. I am so damn tame and "normal" for a bipolar patient that most people have no idea i have it and i also have friends where you can tell instantly they're bipolar. Same goes with any mental illness. Some people can manage theirs better, take proper medication for it and their body reacts well to the meds, or their disorders aren't as severe.
The term "worse" adds competition, which is invalidating to mentally ill people and is triggering to me personally, and I'm sure many.. I do understand the need to feel the "worst" off, as I have this need frequently, because it's a negative way that gives validation. It's invalidating when you see others problems and they disregard yours, or your problems feel insignificant.. I struggle with competitive behavior because of my BorderlinePD and I'm trying to control it.. They are equally worse for different reasons. Borderline causes emotional HELL in just about every aspect of your life- relationships, beliefs, self-image, thoughts, emotions.. you name it. The emotional pain is very intense, which is why it has such a high suicide risk. It is more frequent than bipolar in emotional turbulence. It has a higher lethality in suicide and self-harm than bipolar. But here's where bipolar is just as equally as bad. Though bipolar often times can be controlled with the right med combination, it is lifelong. Borderline has potential to not be lifelong. Bipolar is sheerly chemical. It causes severe mood disturbances that aren't as predictable as BPD.. I know with my BPD, invalidation, criticism, painful emotions+memories and rejection fuel it.. bipolar.. you can't tell when you'll become depressive or manic. So that's very detrimental.. if you become manic at a job interview what do you do then? You can avoid BPD triggers to a degree, but you cannot avoid bipolar highs/lows. Bipolar Meds often build resistance to the body too, and antipsychotics and mood stabilizers aren't the best for your physical body, so many people with bipolar feel cruddy because of constant med changes and also having to be on meds lifelong. If they get off Meds, they can have SEVERE depressive or manic episodes. A simple way to put it is BPD is worse short-term, bipolar worse long-term.
As someone that has borderline personality disorder, and has a nearly achieved a BA in psychology, this is an open ended question first off. It all narrows down to the individual, and the treatments they are going through. This question is so broad, that I am honestly not sure what it is asking. I think honestly having either of these diagnosis's are debilitating compared to a normal and healthy individual. I don't believe in what is worse or not. Each person is an individual, likewise, I think that someone suffering from bpd might not suffer as much from someone with bp.. and vice versa. It all depends on the individual standpoint on symptoms, severity, and length of treatment. For example, personally, I am untreated, I've learned personally how to deal with my borderline through education and self treatment on mainly re-framing thoughts and using cognitive restructuring. Nothing seemed to have helped, but it seemed with me personally, learning about my diagnosis and using things that I have learned on a psychological education, I've been able to achieve my own personalized treatment, but that aside, my point is.. everyone is different. Psychology is abstract and sometimes biased, hell, I think I'm biased with my own method of self treatment, nor do I recommend my method to anyone else. Again, to sum up, this question is really open ended, considering the abstract nature of the question and the following replies that I have read.