The Differences Between Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are two mental illnesses that are easily confused for one another. Although the symptoms may appear similar, these are actually two completely different disorders. No two patients with different mental disorders should be given the same treatments.


Bipolar Disorder: What You Should Know
Bipolar disorder is one type of mood disorder. As its name suggests, it affects or disturbs a person's mood. The person suffering this disorder will typically have very intense mood swings.
But the range of these mood changes is diverse: from very low, depressed states to very high, almost ecstatic moods. People with bipolar disorder can appear schizophrenic at times, but not primarily. This disease is characterized by mood changes and various phases that can last anywhere from a few days to weeks and even years.


Schizophrenia: A Psychotic Disorder
On the other hand, there are psychotic disorders, and schizophrenia falls under this category. The main symptom here is that a person suffering from schizophrenia cannot distinguish reality from fantasy. They are often deluded, or have hallucinations, believing things to be other than what they truly are. They do have depressed or sad moods, as this is not a primary symptom.


The Similarities Between Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia
Probably the most obvious similarity between the two disorders is this: People with either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia will have what is termed "episodes." This means that they sometimes act or feel a certain way, while at other times when the episode has passed, they appear completely normal.


The second common similarity is that the disorders tend to affect everyday functions. Patients who suffer from either disorder will have trouble in their home life as well as their work life. This is due to being unable to manage and make the decisions required as a fully functioning, healthy adult. This makes it difficult and sometimes dangerous to live with a person who is suffering from either of these mental disorders.
The good thing is that both mental disorders can be successfully treated.


The Main Differences Between Bipolar and Schizophrenic Patients
The major difference between these two diseases is the severity of each. Often, but not always, those with schizophrenia appear to be absent of any type of mood (they may appear nonchalant; neither happy nor sad), while those with bipolar issues appear more moody and depressed.
  Some other differences include the following:

  • Those with schizophrenia sometimes find it difficult to process information, and this prevents them from making important decisions.
  • They may also suddenly stop speaking in the middle of a sentence, as the words fail them.
  • Those with schizophrenia may appear more suspicious and paranoid.


A Dual Diagnosis
If you suffer from two conditions, such as bipolar disorder on top of alcohol or drug abuse, it is necessary to seek a special type of treatment.
The drugs you will be prescribed are specifically for individual cases. In order to get the most successful results, patients who suffer from more than one mental condition should consult a dual diagnosis treatment center.


Personalized Treatment in San Diego
At Affinity Treatment Centers, you can expect the best-personalized care for your condition. Some treatments include:

  • Medication Management
  • One-on-One Psychotherapy
  • Vocational and Educational Development
  • Small and Large Group Therapy
  • Life Skills Training

We always strive to provide the most professional and modern treatments for our clients. If you need help with anxiety treatment, bipolar treatment or schizophrenia treatment, don't hesitate to call us today. Simply fill out the contact form below, or call 760-917-1112.