Bipolar and Schizophrenia Symptoms

Most of the mental disorders have the same symptoms and traits. This, however, makes it impossible to find a certain disease. Problems in diagnosis eventually pave the way for much more complicated situations. As a result, the psychiatrists take extreme care to check for possible situations and find the closest symptom to diagnose which problem it is.[1]

Although considered to be two different types of psychiatric disorders, it is necessary to understand that bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia are closely related to each other. Despite having a number of similarities, the differences exist too. While bipolar disorder is all about change in energy level, mood, and thought process, Schizophrenia refers to the condition where the concerned person cannot find any connection with reality.

An individual suffering from bipolar disorder would soon slip into depression and become a maniac. However, in some cases, there may be periods of marked sanity. But, in Schizophrenia, the patient suffers from delusions and hallucinations. Since they have similar conditions, diagnosis may become a problem. A number of people also suffer hugely from mood disorders, which has been one major issue in all.[2]

Expert psychologists have said that in both cases, the patient often fails to get in touch with reality. Often people may tend to act like a maniac and behave in psychotic ways. Despite the similarities sounding so close to each other, there is a vast difference in both the conditions.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder

Before indulging in discussing the symptoms of bipolar disorder it is necessary to understand that symptoms may vary depending on the severity of the condition. If the patient isn’t taken to the doctor anytime soon, the condition will keep worsening. However, there have been many instances where the condition of the patient eventually went away with time.

People suffering from bipolar disorder show significant differences in mood. The doctors may either classify the symptoms as being high or hypomania or even the lows, which may be similar to low moods and depression. The lesser type of mania is referred to as hypomania. However, it is necessary to determine that the symptoms in hypomania[3] may vary, which eventually have an impact on the person’s relationship and life.

People suffering from manic episode are often considered to be in the first level of bipolar disorder. However, people in the hypomania level are considered to be in the second level of bipolar disorder or bipolar disorder II. The difference in the stability may occur, thereby having an overall negative impact.

The symptoms of mania and depression will, however, vary too in the case of bipolar disorder. The symptoms of mania in people who have bipolar disorder include

  • Lack of concentration
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Intense excitement
  • Lack of desire to sleep
  • High self-esteem
  • Anger or irritability
  • Continuous thoughts
  • Reckless behavior

The symptoms of depression in people suffering from bipolar disorder II include the following

  • Change in appetite
  • Fatigue/low energy
  • Lack of interest in everything
  • Low self-esteem
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sleep habit changes

Growing bipolar disorders will cause psychotic disorders, thereby leading to people losing touch with reality. Most people suffer from hallucinations.[4]

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

The symptoms of Schizophrenia are more severe than bipolar disorder. They suffer from hallucinations, such as seeing things or people that aren’t there and delusions, such as believing things that aren’t true. The people who have Schizophrenia have a disorganized way of thinking, which often makes them unable to take care of themselves. This eventually takes a toll on their emotional and behavioral aspect.

Some of the most common symptoms of Schizophrenia include

  • Hallucinations

This is the most common symptom as people tend to see and hear things that are not physically present. Most probably, people suffer from hearing things.

  • Delusion

Schizophrenic people have delusions about a number of things. One of the most common examples of delusion in people with schizophrenia is that they believe they are famous celebrities who are being harassed or stalked. They often feel that someone may harm them.[5]

  • Abnormal behavior

No person with schizophrenia would behave in a common way. They tend to show off behaviors such as making strange postures and behaving childlike.

  • Cannot function regularly

Schizophrenia hampers the daily life of people. They become unable to carry even the smallest of activities such as maintaining personal hygiene, socially communicating with each other, or even carrying out the daily activities.

Frequency and Age Affected

For both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the frequency and age affected varies. Globally people are affected, and that has a negative impact on their life.

  • Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is said to affect people either during their late teens or during early adulthood (25 years of age). However, in many cases, children, too, have shown signs of bipolar disorder.

  • Schizophrenia

Similar to bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia too affected people during late teens or early adulthood. However, in the most common case, Schizophrenia tends to affect people from the age of 16 to 30. Children, however, do not exhibit signs or symptoms of Schizophrenia.[6]

Common or Overlapping symptoms

Now that you know the difference between the two, you cannot deny the fact that bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia have certain overlapping or similar symptoms that make them sound very much common. Some of these common symptoms include the following.

  • Psychotic episode

People who have bipolar disorder, too, exhibit symptoms of Schizophrenia such as delusion or hallucinations. This may, however, happen in the extreme level of depression or mania.

  • Depression signs

The signs of depression, such as lack of interest in doing anything is shown in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The loss of interest may make them unable to express their feeling of joy. This may also harm their capacity to make decisions. As a result, they may have a tough time concentrating.

  • Disorganized thinking

Although disorganized thinking is common for people with schizophrenia, people suffering from bipolar disorder too tend to show signs of disorganized thinking. They have a tough time concentrating and become unable to carry out even the smallest task.

  • Substance use

Reports have shown that people suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, or Schizophrenia tend to overuse drugs and alcohol. This misuse can, however, be harmful and make the overlapping symptoms more common. The schizoaffective disorder, however, varies with the depending mental conditions.

Risk Factors Associated for Both

Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder, if not taken seriously, will tend to have a huge impact. It is necessary to understand that genetics have an important role to play. If any of your parental figures was suffering from bipolar disorder or Schizophrenia, the kids might have it too.

Nonetheless, this does not mean that if you are suffering, you have got it from your family. This only increases the chance of severity. Apart from genetics, environmental factors, too, are considered to be responsible. However, the complete effect of it is yet not determined.[7]


The diagnosis for Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder will vary a lot. The expert healthcare providers diagnose the conditions depending on determining whether the concerned person meets the criteria or not.


Any two of the symptoms, such as disorganized thinking or speaking, delusions, hallucinations, and agitated movements, need to be confirmed to determine whether or not the person has Schizophrenia or not. Apart from that, the negative symptoms such as withdrawal and cognitive impairment also need to be checked. Nonetheless, the symptoms must be prevalent for more than a month to determine if the person is truly suffering or not.

Bipolar disorder

In the case of bipolar disorder, the person needs to show one or more signs of mania. Apart from that, they also need to exhibit mood disturbance or too much energy. Apart from these, other symptoms such as low self-esteem, grandeur feeling, lack of sleep, or risky behavior should also be present.[8]

However, in some cases, the patient may actively exhibit the symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, thereby referring to schizoaffective disorder. The doctor may either carry out a physical examination or psychological examination to determine whether you are suffering or not. However, in a number of cases, the doctor also ensures to maintain a diary to check the thoughts, sleep pattern, and mood. This contributes to easing the process of treatment and diagnosis.[9]

Treating Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can be treated with medicines as well as cognitive therapy. The doctor may recommend medicines such as antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and lithium (mood stabilizers).[10]

As far as psychotherapy is concerned, the doctor will check for frequency of mood changes, and help you develop cordial and friendly relationships with your friends and coworkers. The family members are also encouraged to be supportive.

Treating Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia may be treated with medicines such as Geodon, Zyprexa, Invega, Haldol, Dispersal, and more. Psychotherapy, family support, a better environment can be of great help in treating Schizophrenia in the person.[11]

It is all about bringing changes in the lifestyle to ensure a better living. The symptoms of bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia can be managed with medicines as well as therapy. However, it is necessary to get in touch with experts or support therapy groups as soon as you can to lower the risk of suicide or any other serious consequences.


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