Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia

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Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia affect many people. According to Mahoney (2017), over 2.5 million Americans over the age of 18 are believed to be living with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder. This does not include those who have not been diagnosed properly due to misinformation about symptoms. Schizophrenia affects approximately one percent of people worldwide, impacting men and women equally. Schizophrenia can strike anyone and usually occurs between the late teenage years and thirty years of age. Males typically experience the onset of symptoms in their early twenties, while these usually occur in the late twenties for females.

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In Rubin and Zorumski’s (2013) column, bipolar disorder is described as a psychiatric illness characterized by episodes of mania. The symptoms can include euphoria, distractibility, irritability, and grandiosity (Remmert and Sorrentino, 2017, p. 761). As the term bipolar suggests, those with the disorder experience extremes in mood, energy, and function with emotional highs or “ups” (mania) and emotional lows or “downs” (depression). This disorder is also referred to as a manic-depressive illness, and these changes in mood are often called “episodes.” In some cases, individuals may become suicidal.

Schizophrenia, according to Remmert and Sorrentino (2017, p. 760), is a condition where an individual’s thinking and emotions are not in sync. This severe, chronic, disabling brain disorder involves psychosis, a state of severe mental impairment. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, delusions of grandeur – exaggerated beliefs about their importance, wealth, power, or talent –, and delusions of persecution, or false beliefs that they are being mistreated, abused, or harassed. Rubin and Zorumski (2013) describe schizophrenia as an illness characterized by a group of so-called “positive” symptoms that may include hallucinations, delusions, and/or a thought disorder.

Those diagnosed can also exhibit schizoaffective disorder, a different type of bipolar. According to Mahoney (2017), schizoaffective disorder is a subset of schizophrenia that also includes symptoms of a mood disorder, such as depression or mania. The presence of hallucinations and delusions is also necessary for this diagnosis. The bipolar subtype of schizoaffective disorder presents symptoms of mania mixed with psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia. This is sometimes misdiagnosed, which can delay treatment and lead to negative complications.

Treatments for schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia include medication management, psychotherapy, and life skills training. Depending on the symptoms and the specific disorder, antipsychotics, and/or antidepressant medications are typically prescribed to control symptoms. Recognising any co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse or other underlying triggers that can affect these disorders is equally essential (Mahoney, 2017).


Even though both disorders are different, people can have both at the same time. Mahoney (2017) goes on to say that these disorders share similar traits and genetic dispositions. Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are debilitating mental health disorders. Proper treatment can control both disorders. Genetics play a large role in the development of both disorders and studies have shown that some abnormalities in the same genes can be shared by both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.


  1. Sorrentino S. A. & Remmert L. N. (2017) Mosby’s Textbook for Nursing Assistants, 9th Edition 760-761.
  2. Mahoney, B. (July 19, 2017). Are Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia Related? Center for Discovery. Retrieved from
  3. Rubin, E, & Zorumski, C. (March 05, 2013). Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia-Similar and different. Psychology Today. Retrieved from
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Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia. (2019, Jun 22). Retrieved from