Bipolar And Schizophrenia Symptoms And Treatments

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are two mental health disorders that often get confused with each other, which may result in a misdiagnosis in some cases. While they do share some similar symptoms, they are two distinct disorders with differing causes, symptoms, and treatments.

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Additionally, these two conditions can also be present in an individual simultaneously (also referred to as overlapping), making it harder to diagnose and treat. Whichever the case however, it’s important to understand that these disorders can have a destructive impact on the patient. Furthermore, people suffering from these disorders lack the ability to realize just how much they’re choice of words, unstable behaviors and actions can affect their livelihoods, health and safety, and it can put a heavy strain on their interpersonal relationships as well.

With that being said, listed below are the various symptoms and treatments of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and how they differ from one another.


Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental health condition that causes severe, unstable shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels. The disorder is characterized by yo-yoing episodes of mania and depression that can last for mere hours, days or weeks at a time. The symptoms of bipolar disorder are divided into two categories: manic symptoms and depressive symptoms.

Manic Symptoms

During manic episodes, the symptoms are characterized by feelings of euphoria, high energy levels, and increased self-esteem. People with bipolar disorder may experience an elevated or irritable mood, increased activity levels, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, poor judgment, grandiosity or inflated self-esteem, increased talkativeness and distractibility.

Depressive Symptoms

In the depressive phase however, the individual will experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities that he/she once found enjoyable. People with bipolar disorder may also feel a persistent sadness or feelings of emptiness that refuses to go away no matter what they do, along with chronic fatigue, unwarranted feelings of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite, unintentional weight loss and suicidal thoughts.

Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

The treatment of bipolar disorder involves a combination of medication and therapy. Medications used to treat bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers, such as lithium, anticonvulsants, and atypical antipsychotics. These medications can help stabilize mood and prevent episodes of mania and depression.

Therapy for bipolar disorder may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors, and interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, which helps people with this disorder to establish a regular and healthier routine to control and manage their symptoms better.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. The disorder is characterized by a range of symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and behavior, and a lack of motivation. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be placed into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.

1. Positive Symptoms: Positive symptoms are characterized by an excess or distortion of normal behavior. People with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there, or delusions, such as believing that someone is trying to harm them or that they have a special power or ability.

They may also possess the habit of disordered thinking, speech and behavior, such as speaking incoherently, making up their own words, dressing inappropriately or acting in a bizarre manner.

2. Negative symptoms: The negative symptoms involve a lacking or total absence of normal behavior. For instance, they may experience a lack of motivation or interest in activities, reduced or flat emotional and facial expressions and social withdrawal, along with neglecting their own self care, personal hygiene, and responding to occurrences or conversations with apathy or indifference.

3. Regarding cognitive symptoms, there is a very noticeable disruption in normal thought processes. People with schizophrenia may display various cognitive symptoms, such as:

● Problems with attention, memory, and executing tasks
● Difficulty processing information or making decisions
● Poor insight or judgment

Treatment for Schizophrenia

The treatment of schizophrenia involves a combination of medication and therapy. Medications used to treat schizophrenia, including antipsychotic medications, can help reduce “positive” symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions.

Therapy for schizophrenia may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help people with schizophrenia develop coping skills and challenge negative thoughts, and social skills training, which can help people with this condition to learn how to interact with others more effectively.

Key Differences between Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

As mentioned previously, some of the main differences between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia include:

Symptoms and Onset:

The symptoms of bipolar disorder are marked by shifts in mood and energy levels, whereas schizophrenia involves hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking.

Bipolar disorder typically has an onset in late adolescence or early adulthood, while schizophrenia typically begins to surface in the late teens or early twenties.

Course of Illness and Genetics:

Bipolar disorder involves the display of manic and depressive episodes, while schizophrenia is typically a chronic condition with ongoing symptoms.
Both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have a genetic component, but the specific genes involved in each disorder are different.


The treatment of bipolar disorder involves mood stabilizing medication, such as lithium, while the treatment of schizophrenia involves antipsychotic medication.

Final Thoughts

If left untreated, both Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia will get worse over time, causing a detrimental impact within every facet of the person’s life. Unfortunately, many people worldwide do not get the diagnosis and treatment they need due to various reasons, and suicide attempts may occur as a result.

Therefore, it is crucial to pay close attention. If any of the aforementioned symptoms are being portrayed on an ongoing basis, then do not delay. Get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment from a mental health professional as soon as possible, in order to help manage symptoms and significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.

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