Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia: Are They The Same Illnesses?

bipolar disorder and schizophreniaBipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia: Are They The Same Illnesses?

Seroquel dosages can be prescribed for treating schizophrenia as well as bipolar disorder. So I thought it would be useful to post an article to discuss the differences and similarities between these two conditions.

For many years medical experts and psychiatrists stated that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are two different mental conditions. This dichotomy was identified by the German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin. The Kraepelinian Dichotomy says that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are two different mental problems. This dichotomy is still recognized by present day psychiatrists.

Regardless of theories, in practice it is very challenging to distinguish between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Both disorders have identical indications and symptoms leading psychiatrists to often incorrectly diagnose the condition.

Medical Research

Research is currently working on developing methods to clearly differentiate between the two disorders. The goal of the research is to identify and describe the specific indications and symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder to help in the diagnosis and treatment of the conditions.

One thing that makes it difficult to exactly identify the condition is the fact that bipolar disorder patients can experience schizophrenia like hallucinations and delusions. Bipolar disorder is more of a chronic or persistent form of a mental disorder.

Schizophrenia usually has additional symptoms compared to bipolar disorder, i.e. depressive periods and manic periods. The problem is that in real life the symptoms are never as clear cut and therefore it is challenging for the doctors to correctly identify the condition. There are cases of schizophrenia showing bipolar disorder symptoms and also the other way round.

genetic structureFurther scientific studies revealed that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have genetic causes. What this means is that studying the genetic structure of bipolar and schizophrenia patients allows identifying the differences between these two conditions. This has led to progress in recommending the appropriate treatment strategies. The treatment approaches for both of the conditions usually consist of a combination of medications and psychotherapy. These medications are aimed at changing the biochemistry of the brain.


The combination of drugs and sessions with a psychotherapist will help to stabilize the functions of the brain and reduce the impact of the diseases on your daily life. Because of the similarities of the symptoms of both diseases it happens that doctors incorrectly diagnose the problem, and therefore patients may get the wrong therapy for their mental problem. This is important because there are different drugs for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Presently the most frequently prescribed medication for schizophrenia is Clorazil. This drug works by controlling the brain functions. Lithium is the prescription drug that is commonly prescribed for patients of bipolar disorder. Lithium is efficient in preventing recurring manic episodes. Valproic acid is the name of another drug. It is used for rapid cycling bipolar disorder but also for regular bipolar. This is a form of bipolar whereby the patients experience 4 or more mood changes within a 12 month period.

Because of the medical challenges of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder it is important for patients to find a well-respected and experienced doctor and psychiatrist. This will give you the advantage of correctly identifying your mental condition in the first place and hence starting with the appropriate treatment. The treatments will be more effective the earlier they are applied.

Both mental diseases can be devastating and make you unproductive. Not getting treatment will make the conditions only worse and more difficult and time consuming to manage.

In case you or someone you know show early symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder it is highly recommended to see your doctor immediately. He can then send you to a specialist for identifying the condition and prescribing the appropriate therapy.

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