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Research shows key difference in brain functioning in borderline and bipolar disorders

Recent research published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, has found that there are important differences in the way the brain processes emotions in people with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, two closely related mental disorders. Those findings reportedly have important implications for treatment, since the two disorders are often misdiagnosed.

The reason the two are sometimes confused with one another is that emotional dysregulation is a key aspect of both. Within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, bipolar is considered an Axis 1 disorder, which can come and go and theoretically be cured, whereas borderline is considered Axis 2, a long-term disorder.

Treating the two disabilities is quite different. Those with bipolar primarily receive medication, while borderline patients are treated psychotherapeutically. Those who are misdiagnosed are not getting the most optimal treatment.

The study found that there is a clear difference in the biology behind the two disorders. Patients with bipolar are able to function normally when well, but they have to drawn on a part of their brain normal people don't. Borderline patients, though, are unable to control the center of their brain related to the fear response.

The study is interesting in that it draws attention to the struggles folks face when struggling with either of these conditions, but also because of the importance of correct diagnosis in receiving the proper treatment.

Those who live with mental impairments may be eligible for Social Security disability. To determine their eligibility likelihood, they should contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

Source: ABC Science, "Scans reveal key difference in mental disorders," Dani Cooper, April 2, 2013

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