Can a BPD Person Recover & Become BP II?
[Home] [Bipolar News] [Bipolar Disorder] [Medications] [Treatments] [Bipolar Disorder/Job/School] [Disabilities] [Ask the Doctor] [Ask David] [Self-Injury] [Personal Stories] [Graham's Column] [Steven's Column] [Storm's Column] [Columnist Archives] [Suicide] [Community Support] [Family Members] [Expressions] [Greeting Cards] [Books] [Awards] [Links & Rings] [About Us] [Contact Us]


Q:  Can a BPD Person Recover & Become BP II?

I have had Borderline Personality disorder and have had 15 years of therapy. I am in therapy with another therapist for about a year. She diagnosed me with Bipolar II. Can a BPD person recover and become Bipolar II? Is this an improvement? She said she does not see BPD only traces of it.


Hello Chris -- 
Now that's an interesting one.  Of course we might hope that your therapy was actually accomplishing something, especially something that might make you have fewer symptoms.  And if you had fewer symptoms, perhaps you wouldn't merit the diagnosis anymore?  Certainly we hope that in treating bipolar disorder, we're shooting for zero symptoms -- and at that point, other than the known risk of relapse without medications, the person doesn't really "have" bipolar disorder in the same way anymore (remission, though not cure).  So, you're asking if in the case of a personality disorder, treated without medications, there could be a remission that amounts to something more like a cure, right?  I think the answer there is a definite yes. 

But, it sounds as though you've then been considered for a different, subsequent diagnosis: Bipolar II.  Is this an improvement?  Well, not exactly.  It carries less stigma, that's sure.  I presume that the new therapist sees more than "traces" of Bipolar, and thus the suggested dx.  

All in all, after all that is said, I rather suspect that the two diagnoses are being confused together; and that the symptoms which used to be prominent and appear "borderline" may well have responded well to treatment.  Now the symptoms which are more like "bipolar II", which I would guess were there in the past but perhaps obscured by the more "borderline" symptoms, are the remaining target.  

The two conditions are so similar, and overlap so much, it's not clear in many cases if it's one, or the other, or some combination of the two.  How this affects treatment options (especially for folks who haven't already responded to treatment as you appear to have done) is reviewed in my little essay on Borderline and Bipolar, if you haven't been there yet.  Good luck from here. 

Dr. Phelps

Published August, 2003


Bipolar World   1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
Allie Bloom, David Schafer, M.Ed. (Blackdog)
Partners:  John Haeckel, Judith (Duff) 
Founder:  Colleen Sullivan

Email Us at Bipolar World


About Us  Add a Link  Advance Directives  Alternative Treatments  Ask the Doctor   Ask Dr. Plyler about Bipolar Disorder   Ask The Doctor/ Topic Archives  Awards  Benny the Bipolar Puppy  Bipolar Chat  Bipolar Children  Bipolar Disorder News  Bipolar Help Contract  Bipolar World Forums  Book Reviews  Bookstore  BP & Other mental Illness   Clinical Research Trials & FDA Drug Approval   Community Support   Contact Us  The Continuum of Mania and Depression   Coping   Criteria    Criteria and Diagnosis  Criteria-World Health Disabilities,  DSMV-IV   Dual Diagnosis  eGroups  Expressions (Poetry, Inspiration, Humor, Art Gallery, Memorials  Family Members   Getting Help for a Loved One who Refuses Treatment  Greeting Cards  History of Mental Illness  Indigo  Job and School  Links  Manage Your Medications  Medications   Medication and Weight Gain    News of the Day  Parent Chat  Pay for Meds  Personal Stories  Self Help  Self Injury  Significant Others  Stigma and Mental Health Law  Storm's Column  Suicide!!!  The Suicide Wall  Table of Contents   Treatments  Treatment Compliance  US Disability  Veteran's Chat  What's New?