Bipolar Personality Disorder Doesn’t Exist

Bipolar disorder (also known as bipolar affective disorder) is a mental illness classified as a mood disorder. A mood disorder is distinctly different from a personality disorder and bipolar personality disorder does not exist. The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) does not include a bipolar disorder personality.

Bipolar Disorder is a Mood Disorder

Mood disorders are where the primary symptom is a disturbance in mood. One of the mood disorders is bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by wide swings in mood from an extremely elevated mood (bipolar mania) to an extremely depressed mood (bipolar depression). Other mood disorders include:

  • Cyclothymic Disorder
  • Dysthymic Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder

(More comprehensive information on bipolar disorder symptoms.)

Bipolar Disorder Is Not A Personality Disorder

Personality disorders are a type of mental illness that is constant in a person’s life and is seen in the thoughts, emotions, interpersonal functioning and impulse control of the patient. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder with distinct mood episodes and does not fit into this model. Bipolar personality disorder doesn’t exist, but the following disorders do:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

A personality disorder may sometimes get misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder and vice versa.