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Schizoaffective Disorder vs. Borderline Personality Disorder

Doctors and clinicians recognize different mental health disorders that people may seek help with each day. Depression and anxiety are the most common, affecting millions of Americans each year. However, some mental health issues can be under-recognized and, therefore, go diagnosed and untreated. 

Your doctors and clinicians can better identify the issues you face, so it’s important to talk with them about all of your symptoms and continuously work with them as you go through treatment options.  

Borderline personality disorder and schizoaffective disorder are two notoriously challenging conditions to diagnose. Learn more about these two disorders and how they compare. 

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that’s often associated with emotional instability. It also can affect how you feel about yourself and others. To qualify as borderline personality disorder, a person has to experience at least five of the disorder’s major symptoms, which can include:

  • Broken relationships. People with BPD often idealize others, especially romantic partners, and then devalue them when they fail to live up to their standards. This can happen quickly, moving quickly from extreme like to extreme dislike.
  • Impulsive risk-taking. Behaving in ways that are reckless to one’s well-being or the well-being of others is also a symptom of BPD. These behaviors include abusing addictive substances, gambling, and engaging in risky sex, among others.
  • Feeling empty. Feeling like you have no purpose of direction for long periods or in recurring episodes. 
  • Suicidal ideation. This may be thinking about suicide or making suicidal threats to control others, especially out of fear that they may abandon you.
  • Difficulty controlling anger. This may involve intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.  
  • Paranoia or dissociation. This can involve severe stress-related paranoia or dissociation or mentally and emotionally disconnect from a situation.

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder is often described as a mix between schizophrenia and a mood disorder. That means that schizoaffective disorder involves psychotic symptoms that don’t last longer than six months (or else it would be considered schizophrenia). It also involved depression or mania symptoms that are typically seen in mood disorders. 

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Psychotic symptoms may involve seeing or hearing something others can’t perceive or delusions, which are strongly held beliefs that differ from reality or reason. Mood symptoms can include depression, loss of motivation, loss of joy in normal activities, or manic episodes that cause a heightened mood and greater impulsivity. 

How Do Borderline Personality Disorder and Schizoaffective Disorder Compare?

Borderline personality disorder and schizoaffective disorder each come with a fairly unique set of symptoms. However, both can contribute to depression and anxiety symptoms and affect the way you see yourself and others. Like many mental health issues, both of these conditions may strain your relationships in a way that makes you feel isolated. 
Finally, both of these disorders can be difficult to diagnose and treat. However, in working with professionals, both can be effectively treated. There is no magic pill or perfect treatment plan, but if you consistently work with your therapist or doctor, you can find a way to better manage your mental health challenges.

Sources

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, February). Depression. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (n.d.). Facts & Statistics. from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Mayo Clinic. (2019, July 17). Borderline personality disorder. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, July). Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

Mayo Clinic. (2019, November 09). Schizoaffective disorder. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizoaffective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20354504

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