Mental illness can be difficult enough for friends and loved ones to detect at all, but distinguishing among similar conditions is even more of a challenge. In particular, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be easily mistaken for other conditions, most often Bipolar Disorder.
It goes without saying that an accurate diagnosis is crucial: not only will the wrong treatments and medications fail to relieve suffering, they threaten to make things worse (and in some cases can induce bouts of psychosis).
Unlike fully somatic diseases— such as cancer or lupus, for example—BPD and other mental illnesses can’t be diagnosed through a blood test or MRI, therefore, accurate analysis depends on the observation of behavior over time. Due to the fact that BPD tends to distort its victims’ self-image, the insights of friends and family can be essential in accurately assessing BPD and detecting it in its early stages. So, let’s take a look at what BPD is—and what it is not.