Borderline personality disorder vs bipolar disorder: What's the difference?


HOUSTON – Pete Davidson, from "Saturday Night Live," who is engaged to Ariana Grande, recently opened up to Rolling Stone about having borderline personality disorder and why he hates the stigma associated with it.

He told Rolling Stone he’s aggravated about the stigma of people with BPD struggling with relationships.

Psychologist Catherine Ruscitti said it's not that romance is impossible, but she says, interactions in relationships can be a key indicator someone has BPD.

“They desperately fear abandonment and go to drastic measurements to avoid it. They often will approach relationships in extremes so either being very, very idealizing of someone and then they could do something or it seems almost innocuous and they feel so wounded and rejected and hurt that then they devalue completely so it's a back-and-forth,” Ruscitti said.

BPD is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image and impulsive actions, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

People with BPD may experience intense episodes of reckless behavior, depression or anger that can last from a few hours to days.

The disorder often shows similar traits to bipolar disorder, but it's different because according to Ruscitti, BPD mood swings are often triggered by someone’s environment. 

“They are more easily triggered to feel intense emotions and they have a harder time coming back down to baseline. It takes them a lot longer,” she said.

She added, it's important to get the correct diagnosis in order for patients to feel better. Treatment for BPD includes a combination of group and individual therapy.

Davidson told Rolling Stone he self-medicated with weed for years then quit cold turkey because he thought weed was making his symptoms worse. Now with a diagnosis of BPD, he said he's learning to live with it.