Some mental disorders, at first glance, are similar and have similar symptoms. These include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They are United by the presence of a common, similar sign-psychosis. But, despite this, they have several differences that you should be aware of.

The general concept of mental disorders

Any mental disorders always cause certain prejudices or fears. Most people are sure that such a problem will never affect them, and those who have faced it are afraid to talk about it, for fear of public condemnation. But the human psyche is a rather mysterious and incomprehensible thing, so many still do not fully understand that it can and should be treated like any other organ.

It seems to us that a mental disorder cannot be overlooked, and we often associate it with the inappropriate or strange behavior of someone in our environment. All sorts of situations happen in life, and we experience them in different ways, experiencing different emotions:

  • panic;
  • anger;
  • apathy;
  • euphoria;
  • hopelessness;
  • despair, etc.

The response to the same situation can be radically different. Here everything depends on the temperament and psychological background of the person. Norm is a relative concept. If constant excitement, activity, and energy are the usual state, then lethargy and lack of initiative can be perceived as a pathology, and Vice versa. A person's mental state is considered normal when they experience a sense of peace and joy and at the same time show their maximum performance and efficiency.

Modern psychiatry is aimed at fighting two main diseases. This is schizophrenia and bipolar personality disorder. They are both psychotic. Real events are perceived inadequately, there are hallucinations, delusions, various manias, and the most incredible phobias.

For a person who is not related to psychiatry, it is not possible to determine the presence of a particular violation by eye. Even knowing the main symptoms and manifestations of the disease, without a proper diagnosis, which takes quite a long period, you can not say anything.

Bipolar disorder

The bipolar affective disorder is the same manic-depressive psychosis, renamed to a more acceptable and tolerant variant. A mental disorder of this type is characterized by a periodic change of States and a radically opposite transformation of mood.

Each phase has its manifestations. At some point, a person feels that the whole world revolves around him, he is the most successful, the most intelligent, and he has no equal in beauty. He has a lot of ideas and is ready to put them into action immediately. He doesn't need much sleep and doesn't eat much. Speech is very fast, but it is quite difficult to catch the essence of statements because thoughts randomly jump from one topic to another.

These are typical signs of a period of manic disorder. It is replaced by a depressive phase. Its main characteristics are usually the opposite of the previous one:

  • decline of vitality;
  • loss of motivation, apathy;
  • pessimism;
  • low self-esteem;
  • tendency to self-harm or suicide.

The frequency of changing States is a purely individual phenomenon. The phases can alternate several times during the day, or each of them can last up to several months or even years. Between periods of bipolar disorder, sometimes a state of remission occurs. It can also continue for quite a long time without any manifestations of psychosis.


This is a severe mental disorder, often leading to antisocialization or disability. The main symptoms of schizophrenia are visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions. The disease hurts:

  • thinking;
  • expression of emotions;
  • perception of the world;
  • self-assessment;
  • general behavior.

While delusions and hallucinations become almost constant companions of the schizophrenic, certain qualities are gradually lost. First of all, concentration and self-control suffer. Such simple and accessible actions, such as daily hygiene procedures or going to the store, are given to a person suffering from schizophrenia with great difficulty. As the disorder progresses, some skills may atrophy all together.

There is often a division of personality. A person who is in one of the separated personalities does not remember at all what he is doing in the other. It looks scary.

Differences in diseases

Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not have many differences. Since these personality disorders are characterized by a psychotic state, it is with him that the fight is going on throughout the entire period of the disease. The differences are in the way in which the causes of uncharacteristic behavior are affected.

Both bipolar affective disorder and schizophrenia are chronic diseases, but the differences are obvious to an experienced psychiatrist. Psychosis, which occurs in bipolar disorder, leads to extreme overexcitation of the nervous system. How does it differ from schizophrenia?

The following:

  • Activity. The state of manic psychosis makes a person stay on the verge of experiencing feelings, emotions simply overwhelm him. This may be excessive joy or delight. During the period of mania, it can be violent and obsessive, but aggression appears only in rare cases.
  • Contact. A person does not lock himself in, he remains open to communication and even strives for it himself.
  • The individual remains indivisible. The main thing that radically distinguishes bipolar affective disorder from schizophrenia is the impact on a person's integrity. The BAR doesn't destroy it. Between the phases of depression and mania, the patient is in a normal state. No matter how long the period of psychosis lasts, personal qualities remain unchanged.

Schizophrenic psychosis has a completely different orientation. A person concentrates on his thoughts and experiences, closes himself in, and degrades.

Treatment forecasts

Chronic diseases, which include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are known to be impossible to cure. However, modern methods of early diagnosis and treatment allow in most cases to keep these mental disorders under control. With the help of correctly selected medications, you can permanently stop the symptoms and lead to a habitual lifestyle.

If drugs of the same spectrum are used for schizophrenia, then bipolar disorder requires a more thorough approach. The medicine must correspond to the current phase of the disease, otherwise, the result will be the opposite of the expected one.

You should know that schizophrenia is a more serious disease than BAR. It destroys not only the activity of the brain but also the structure of the patient's personality. A person loses the urge to live and becomes uninterested in others. Instincts, including self-preservation, are blunted, which often ends in suicide.


By: Dr. Steven Dubovsky, MD


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