Understanding the difference between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can be confusing, especially when patients appear to display symptoms of both illnesses. In pop culture often times incorrect terms are used to describe these mental disorders which tend to foster ignorance among viewers and the general public. These mental illnesses are in fact very different from each other.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by delusion and hallucinations. Often times patients will hear voices that are not actually present. They can also experience tastes and smells that are not real. A schizophrenic person’s delusions and hallucination defy logic and reason. This opposition to logical objectivity can make it difficult to communicate with them. Disorganized thought processes and speech can also damage communication skills and make it difficult for those suffering from schizophrenia to maintain a normal life.
Due to risks of self-harm or harming others, patients made need hospitalization. The usual course of treatment is a combination of antipsychotic drugs and psychotherapy.
This disorder is more frequent in men than women. Typically, onset occurs in the late teens or throughout the twenties.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by changing moods of extreme high and extreme lows. The extreme highs, called “manias”, are periods where the patient maintains an extremely optimistic outlook. Their energy level and motivation is at its highest. Manic people tend to take on a multitude of responsibilities, regardless of whether or not they can maintain them, and appear to operate at a much higher energy level than the average person.
The extreme lows of this cycle are called depressive moods. Eventually, bipolar patients will come down from their high in the manic state and hit an extreme low. They experience symptoms of depression including sadness, a great lack of motivation and lethargy.
Bipolar disorder, like schizophrenia, can be diagnosed at any point throughout a person’s life. It occurs equally as frequently in men and women and is extremely treatable.