Bipolar disorder and multiple personality disorder (also known as dissociative identity disorder) are both seen as having frequent mood changes as well as rapid changes in speech and thought. These similarities can often lead to misdiagnosis, however, and there are several differences between the two. By understanding what makes bipolar disorder different from multiple personality disorder, we can overcome stigmas with each possibly prevent misdiagnosis.

There are key differences in the causes of bipolar and multiple personality disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is attributed to genetic, environmental, and biochemical causes. However, multiple personality disorder is said to come strictly from environmental causes, with much research claiming that it stems from childhood trauma. Bipolar disorder is characterized as having both manic and depressive phases, where a person may feel that they possess unlimited energy, unfocused thoughts and ideas, decreased sleeping levels, or feelings of overwhelming sadness, suicidal thoughts and actions, self-harming behavior, and more.

Multiple personality disorder is when a person believes that they have more than one self. They may have an impaired sense of time, inability to recall basic personal information, feel unaware of where they are at the particular moment, have poor communication skills, and have an ongoing dispute between several “voices” inside. A person who suffers from this disorder might also experience blackouts, lapses in memory or judgment, encountering people who know them as a different identity, finding items they have clearly written but are in handwriting other than their own, and not recognizing themselves in the mirror.

In both disorders, psychotherapy and medication are common forms of treatments. By speaking with a therapist, individuals can work to overcome challenges associated with the disorder and can learn more about themselves. If you believe that you may suffer from either bipolar or multiple personality disorder, the first step that you should take is to see a doctor. Explaining your symptoms during a client intake health assessment should provide your doctor with enough information to determine your diagnosis. If you are diagnosed, remember that recovery is possible and that you are taking steps towards your health. There is nothing wrong with you and there are ways to work with the symptoms you are experiencing.






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