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What’s the difference between Mood Disorder and Personality Disorder?

Diagnosing psychiatric disorders is probably one of the most complex tasks as most psychological disorders exhibit similar symptoms of mental illness, which often overlap. Each person is unique with individual differences like medical history, genetics, upbringing, and environment. Sometimes clinicians and mental health professionals may take months of observation to come to a specific diagnosis of mental illness. Researchers believe mental illness might have multiple dimensions to it.

Source: Jorien Stel

Generally, patients would fit the standard set of criteria for a particular illness. Still, some patients often have mixed symptoms from two different disorders. Neuropsychiatrist Ted Satterthwaite says,” If you have one disorder, you are much more likely to have another.’ Why do we need to know the differences?

Physical illnesses are easy to diagnose as the symptoms, even though painful, are easy to describe and reach a conclusion. Whereas mental illnesses being physically symptomless requires a certain level of expression and transparency in the interactions between doctors and patients to reach the correct conclusion. Here the awareness of illness plays a preeminent role for the patient to describe the symptoms appropriately as they are the ones who are experiencing it psychologically. The more consciously they self-examine their symptoms, the better they would be able to help the doctor to come to an appropriate diagnosis to treat the illness effectively.

Source: Darya Sannikova

Bipolar Disorder and Borderline personality disorder are the most frequently confused disorders due to erratic and impulsive behaviour symptoms. From a layman’s perspective, the difference between Mood Disorder and Personality Disorder is a laborious task. Medical professionals can diagnose the illness by measuring the length and frequency of mood swings to distinguish between the two disorders. This takes time and effort. Theoretically speaking, the difference between mood disorder and personality disorder is hard to find. Therefore having a better understanding of what we are going through as a patient through awareness of various mental illnesses will foster the chances of the correct diagnosis by the medical professional for us to treat appropriately.

Below is the table on the infographic comparison between Mood Disorder and Personality Disorder based on the research and generic guidelines.

Source: Gauri Bellad

Mood Disorders are usually hereditary. It causes sustained periods of either elevated or depressed mood. Everyone has normal mood swings daily; if they are more intensified to the point that they interfere with your day-to-day functions, it’s time to seek help.

A Personality Disorder is rather challenging to diagnose initially. The personality trait is entangled with the other symptoms and often mistaken as “ Personality Quirks”. This is one of the reasons why this disorder gets unnoticed by both patient and the doctor. Considering the complexities of mental illnesses and their symptoms, it’s wise enough if we stay aware of at least certain generic similarities or differences to be eligible to discover what we are struggling with and what treatment options are available for it.

Be it for yourself or your loved ones, whoever you choose to help, you are saving an innocent life from overcoming their own mental illusions, which they are not even aware of, to find a solution to this strange problem called “ Mental illness.”

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