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[QUOTE=Simes;4232910] We live day to day on a bit of a knife edge of mood swings from my wife, never knowing if something is said incorrectly or in the wrong way will trigger an argument..... She becomes very bitter towards me and others for no apparent reason and can say the most awful, hurtful and nasty things and doesn't think she's said anything wrong.[/QUOTE]Simes, you are describing event-triggered mood changes, which are more indicative of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) than bipolar disorder.

There are several clear differences between the two disorders. One is that bipolar mood swings are very slow because they are caused by gradual changes in body chemistry. They are considered rapid if as many as four occur in a year. Hence, the two mood changes that you talk about occurring in 4 years sound like bipolar mood changes.

In sharp contrast, four BPD mood changes can easily occur in four days. BPD rages, for example, typically last about 5 hours and rarely as long as 36 hours (if the BPD sufferer is inner-directed, you will not witness a raging screaming person but, instead, a quiet withdrawn person who turns her anger onto herself).

A second difference is that the onset is very different. Whereas a bipolar change may occur over several weeks, a BPD change typically occurs in less than a minute -- often in only 15 seconds -- because it is event-triggered by some innocent comment or action.

A third difference is that, whereas bipolar can cause people to be irritable and obnoxious during the manic phase, it does not rise to the level of meanness you see when a BPD is splitting you black. The difference is huge: while a manic person may regard you as an irritation, a BPD person can perceive you as Hitler and will treat you accordingly.

Finally, a fourth difference is that a bipolar sufferer -- whether depressed or manic -- usually is able to trust you if she knows you well. Untreated BPDs, however, are unable to trust -- even though they sometimes may claim otherwise. This lack of trust means that BPDers tend to get jealous easily and that there is no foundation on which to build a relationship.

Yet, despite these four clear differences between the two disorders, many people confuse the two. The primary source of this confusion, seems to be that roughly a third of BPD sufferers also have the bipolar disorder. This causes BPD to often be misdiagnosed as bipolar. I am not a psychologist. I am speaking based on my 12 years of experience taking care of my bipolar foster son and 15 years of taking care of my BPD exW. If you would like to read more about these two disorders, I would be glad to provide links to several good articles.





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