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What’s The Difference Between Schizophrenia And Bipolar

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Duration Of Symptoms And Disease

What Is the Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Schizoaffective Disorder?

The psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia tend to be persistent, while in schizoaffective disorder, they tend to come and go.

In terms of the course of the disease, most people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have a chronic and persistent course of illness.

On the other hand, most people diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder experience episodes of symptoms but are more likely to have symptom-free intervals than people who have schizophrenia. This is not a hard and fast rule, however in some people, the opposite is true.

What Is The Difference Between Schizoaffective Disorder And Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder have a significant overlap in symptoms. But schizoaffective disorder also involves symptoms of mood disorders like major depression or bipolar disorder, which makes it a more complicated condition to diagnose and treat. Both conditions are manageable, and no one who is diagnosed with either should be prevented from living a normal life over the long-term.

What If I Am A Carer Friend Or Relative

What support can I get?

You can get support if you care for someone with schizoaffective disorder. These are some options for you:

  • Family Intervention through the NHS
  • Join a carers service
  • Join a carers support group
  • Ask your local authority for a carers assessment
  • Read about the condition
  • Apply for welfare benefits for carers

Rethink Mental Illness run carers support groups in some areas. You can also search for groups on the Carers Trust website:

Rethink Mental Illness: www.rethink.org/about-us/our-support-groups Carers Trust www.carers.org/search/network-partners

How can I support the person I care for?

You might find it easier to support someone with schizoaffective disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatment and self-management skills.

You should be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state or risk of self-harm. It can be helpful to know contact information for their mental health team or GP.

You could find out from your relative if they have a crisis plan. You could help your relative to make a crisis plan if they dont have one.

You can find out more information about:

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What Bipolar Disorder Looks Like

If you have bipolar disorder, your mood can have big shifts. You may have periods called mania, when you feel extremely happy and full of energy. But you may also go into a depression phase and start to feel sad and hopeless.

There are two main types of bipolar disorder, which vary in how serious your episodes get and how long they last.

Bipolar I disorder involves periods of full-blown mania. You may have high energy, behave recklessly, and act in an extremely impulsive way.

If you have bipolar II disorder, you’ll get “low-grade” periods of mania. When that happens, you might have “up” moods and high energy, but your symptoms don’t get in the way of your daily life.

With severe bipolar disorder, you may have hallucinations, where you see or hear things that aren’t there. You may also have delusions, where you firmly believe in something that just isn’t true. This is when it’s easy to confuse bipolar disorder for schizophrenia.

Some signs that you’ve got bipolar disorder are:

Mania symptoms. When you’re in an “up” period, you may feel:

  • Easily triggered or set off
  • Full of energy and great ideas
  • Happy and bursting with joy
  • Jumpy or wired
  • Keep jumping from one activity to the next
  • Stop eating or sleeping
  • Talk fast and have thoughts that are all over the place
  • Think you can do anything, so you do something risky like spend money you don’t have

Depression symptoms. When your mood swings to a depressed phase, you may feel:

Schizophrenia Vs Bipolar: What Are The Differences In Symptoms

Bipolar disorder

Schizophrenia and bipolar share a few symptoms but are different mental health disorders with different symptoms. Schizophrenia, as explained by the National Institute of Mental Health , is a serious mental health illness affecting how an individual thinks, feels, and behaves. Individuals with schizophrenia might see like they lost touch with reality, which can cause significant distress for them and those that love them.

It is usually diagnosed in the late teens to early thirties in males and late adolescence to early twenties for females. Diagnosis is made after the first psychotic episode. Some of its symptoms include hallucinations and delusions.

Bipolar disorder causes unnatural shifts in energy, mood, concentration, activity levels, and the ability to conduct everyday tasks. There are three types of it, all of which involve noticeable changes in energy, mood, and activity levels. Some moods may range from extremely up and elated to very down, sad or indifferent moods. These moods can switch from one to another very quickly and dramatically affect the diagnosed individual. Hallucinations and delusions are two symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Those are the main symptoms that both schizophrenia and bipolar share. However, there are other symptoms that are different for each disorder.

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Difference Between Bipolar And Schizophrenia

There are several diseases that we suffer from. Some of them are easier to detect and further cure. Whereas some of them are similar in ways that detection of it becomes difficult. Examples of such diseases can be bipolar and schizophrenia. Both of them are similar in ways that it becomes difficult to recognize them. Both of these diseases a dangerous if not treated before its too late. But that does not make the same. They are different in more ways.

The Good News About Bipolar And Schizophrenia

While having either of these illnesses represents a lifelong diagnosis, the good news is that both are treatable. With proper medication, ongoing therapy, social support, and the utilization of community resources those who live with schizophrenia or bipolar 1 or bipolar 2 disorder can go on to live meaningful, productive, stable, and happy lives.

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Can Bipolar Turn Into Schizophrenia

Bipolar can most definitely turn into schizophrenia. However, this has more to do with a person receiving an initial inaccurate diagnosis more than anything else. For example, a person may be originally diagnosed with bipolar I with psychotic features and later receive a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia.

Bipolar Vs Schizophrenia Whats Different

What is the Difference Between Schizoaffective Disorder and Schizophrenia?

The primary difference between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is the prevalence and severity of different symptoms. These symptoms are the way in which each disorder is separately diagnosed. For example, bipolar disorder is diagnosed primarily by the presence of periods of both mania and bipolar depression, whereas schizophrenia is diagnosed largely based on symptoms of psychosis.

Other ways in which schizophrenia and bipolar disorder differ include:3,4

  • People with schizophrenia may appear to have a flattened mood , whereas people with bipolar often appear moody
  • People with bipolar disorder may have psychotic symptoms that are related to mood such as being Jesus when happy whereas people with schizophrenia tend to have psychotic symptoms that arent related to mood
  • People with schizophrenia may have trouble understanding information and using it to make decisions
  • People with schizophrenia may stop talking in the middle of a sentence and feel the words were just “taken out of their head”
  • People with schizophrenia have a greater tendency to be suspicious and paranoid

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Rose Hill Center Can Help You Overcome Both Disorders

While theres clearly a difference between these two disorders, it doesnt have to change where you get help. At Rose Hill Center, we understand the differences between the two. For that reason, we offer different treatment options at one location.

At Rose Hill Center, we strive to offer a variety of treatment services for mental health problems. A few of these include:

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What Are The Symptoms Of A Mood Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects a persons ability to regulate moods. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder only and not a psychotic disorder because everything involved with bipolar disorder must be attached to a mood. To put it simply- people with bipolar disorder have psychotic symptoms at the same time as mania or depression.

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Diagnosis Of Bipolar Disorder And Schizophrenia

There are no blood tests for diagnosing bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Instead, your doctor will do a physical and psychological exam. During the exam, theyll ask you about any family history of mental disorders and your symptoms.

Your doctor may want to do a complete blood test to help rule out other conditions. They may also request an MRI or CT scan. Finally, they make ask you to agree to a drug and alcohol screening.

You may need to return for several visits before your doctor can make a diagnosis. These visits will help your doctor fully understand your symptoms. They may ask you to keep a daily record of your mood and sleep patterns. This can help your doctor see if any patterns emerge, such as manic and depressive episodes.

Treatment for both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia involves therapy and medication.

For bipolar disorder, psychotherapy may include:

  • learning about changes in mood and how to effectively manage them
  • educating family members about the disorder so they can be supportive and help with overcoming episodes
  • helping you improve your relationships with friends and coworkers
  • learning to manage your days to avoid possible triggers, such as a lack of sleep or stress

Your doctor may prescribe medications to control changes in mood and related symptoms, such as:

Are Bipolar Disorder And Schizophrenia Related

Bipolar I Disorder Symptoms, Treatments, Causes, and More

Oftentimes, it may be difficult for professionals, let alone the general public, to differentiate between mental health disorders especially when two disorders share similar traits and genetic dispositions. This is often true for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, both are debilitating mental health disorders but with the proper treatment, symptoms can be controlled. Genetics play a large role in the development of both disorders and studies have shown that some abnormalities in the same genes may be shared by both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In addition, it is vital to know the difference between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Bipolar disorder


Schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type

Schizoaffective disorder is a subset of schizophrenia but also includes symptoms of a mood disorder such as depression or mania however hallucinations and delusions must also be present as well. The bipolar subtype of schizoaffective disorder presents with symptoms of mania mixed with psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Since this disorder is combines symptoms for separate mental health illnesses, it is often misdiagnosed which prolongs the treatment course resulting in potential negative complications. The following is the diagnostic criteria for schizoaffective disorder, bipolar subtype:

Seeking treatment

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Treatment And Affording Treatment

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have similar and different symptoms. Treatment for either mental illness might involve psychotherapy and medication. Both conditions are treatable. Fortunately, there are top-rated mental health centers in South Florida, such as Vista Pines Health, which can help you or someone you care about get the best care possible for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Many people with mental health disorders do not seek treatment because they feel they can manage their symptoms on their own or cannot afford proper care. They may try to self-medicate to alleviate their symptoms, which is never smart to do, as alcohol and drugs can worsen symptoms.

Mental health treatment does not have to break the bank, and it can be paid for in several ways. Some ways to pay for treatment could include:

  • Health insurance private or work-sponsored
  • Medical loans
  • Short-term loans through a bank or credit union
  • Family loans

Linkage Findings In Schizophrenia

Several studies of schizophrenia pedigrees have found evidence for linkage at genome-wide significant level . Nevertheless, until recently, the results had, perhaps, seemed disappointing, with most positive studies falling short of genome-wide significance, and failures to replicate even the most interesting loci being the rule rather than the exception. This is probably attributable to a combination of small genetic effects and inadequate sample sizes. However, as the data from more than 20 genome-wide studies have accumulated and sample sizes increased, some consistent patterns have emerged.

Figure 1

Chromosome ideograms showing locations of genome-wide significant linkages in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Asterisks mark the locations of chromosomal abnormalities associated with schizophrena.

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What Is Treatment For Bipolar Schizophrenia

Mood-stabilizers, such as lithium, are the primary medication treatment bipolar disorder. Atypical antipsychotic medications may also be used for bipolar disorder, often in combination with antidepressant medications. Antipsychotics including atypical antipsychotics are the major classes of medications used to treat schizophrenia.

What Schizophrenia Looks Like

What is Schizoaffective Disorder- Is It Worse Than Bipolar Disorder?

When you have schizophrenia, you may have some of these symptoms:

Hallucinations. You see things or hear voices that aren’t there.

Delusions. You totally believe something that isn’t true, like thinking someone’s out to get you.

Confused thoughts. Also called disorganized thinking, you can’t stay focused and might feel foggy or hazy. Your speech may also be hard to follow.

Behavior and thought changes. The way you act becomes less normal. You may shout for no clear reason. You may even think that someone’s taking over your body.

Unusual body movements. You may move in odd, disturbed ways or hold postures that don’t make sense.

You may also find that you no longer do things that you used to, such as:

  • Enjoy activities

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Schizophrenia Vs Bipolar Disorder: Understanding The Difference

There are several differences between bipolar and schizophrenia and they are all of equal importance. Lets make a side-by-side comparison to identify several key points.

Schizophrenia Is a Psychotic Disorder. Bipolar Is a Mood Disorder.

This is the most notable difference between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Bipolar is marked by extreme changes in mood and energy levels. It operates on a spectrum with depression on one end and mania on the other. Someone who has bipolar disorder will swing between these two extremes with periods of normalcy in between.

Schizophrenia, on the other hand, is a psychotic disorder. It can cause delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking. It generally affects perception and can cause someone to lose touch with reality. Unlike bipolar disorder, which represents an ongoing series of ups and downs, schizophrenia remains constant and can be completely debilitating if left untreated.

Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Display Different Symptoms.

One of the things these two conditions have in common is that there is no blood test or medical procedure that can diagnose them with certainty. Doctors make a diagnosis based on an evaluation of symptoms, family history, and other factors. Once you know the symptoms for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, you will realize how different these two conditions are.

Lets take a look:

Symptoms of schizophrenia may include:

Symptoms of bipolar disorder may include:

What Are The Symptoms Of Schizoaffective Disorder

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are:

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects the way you think. Symptoms can effect how you cope with day to day life. Symptoms include.

  • Hallucinations. You may hear, see, or feel things that arent there.
  • Delusions. You may believe things that arent true.
  • Disorganised speech. You may begin to talk quickly or slowly, and the things you say might not make sense to other people. You may switch topics without any obvious link.
  • Disorganised behaviour. You might struggle to organise your life, or stick to appointments, for example.
  • Catatonic behaviour. You may feel unable to move or appear to be in daze.
  • Negative symptoms. These are symptoms that involve loss of ability and enjoyment in life. They can include the following things.
  • Lack of motivation

You can find more information about Schizophrenia by clicking here.

What are the symptoms of mania?

You may experience the following if you have mania.

Mania is associated with bipolar disorder.

You can find more information about Bipolar disorder by clicking here.

What are the symptoms of depression?

You may feel the following if you have depressive symptoms.

  • Low mood,
  • Sleep too much, not being able to sleep or have disturbed sleep,
  • More or less hungry than usual or have a weight change, or
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempt suicide.

You can find more information about Depression by clicking here.

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Bipolar Disorder Vs Schizophrenia

What Causes These Disorders


After years of research, doctors still dont know what causes schizophrenia. They think that chemical imbalances of dopamine and glutamate might play a role. Also, they know that people with schizophrenia often have physically different brains than those who dont. This might indicate that it happens during the development of the brain itself.

Doctors havent studied schizoaffective disorder for nearly as long. However, theyve made more breakthroughs. For example, doctors believe that the genes that control the bodys natural sleep and wake cycle contribute to this disorder.

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