Clinical Differentiation of Bipolar II Disorder From Borderline Personality Disorder

Adam Bayes; Gordon Parker; Kathryn Fletcher


Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2014;27(1):14-20. 

In This Article

Family History

Several studies suggest a general 'breeding true' phenomenon, with a greater probability of first-degree relatives with bipolar or a major mood disorder in bipolar probands,[5,14] and an increased likelihood of impulse control disorders (antisocial personality and substance abuse disorders) or a unipolar mood condition in family members of those with BPD.[15] Additionally, borderline 'features' (e.g. deliberate self-harm, identity problems) are over-represented in family members of those with BPD,[16] with Perugi et al.[17] reporting that patients with a major depressive disorder and a comorbid BPD had a higher rate of hypomania/mania in first-degree relatives. This could reflect a common genetic contribution to two independent or interdependent conditions, or be artefactual because of the failure to diagnose truly separate conditions. Overall, a family history of bipolar disorder is likely to support a BP II as against BPD diagnosis.