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Bipolar vs. Schizophrenia
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Bipolar vs. Schizophrenia

  My mother is hospitalized again.  Throughout my whole life she has been in and out of clinics and hospitals.  The doctors have diagnosed her as a bipolar with paranoid tendencies or as a paranoid schizophrenic (different places said different things).  What is the difference?  Are the treatments different? Thanks for any answers you can give.
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Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder can be devastating but manageable mental disorders.
It may be difficult to differenciate between schizophrenia and the manic episodes of Bipolar Disorder, because both MAY share symptoms such as paranoid delusions; auditory hallucinations; agitation; and mood lability.
Generally, in contrast to Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia is characterized by psychotic symptoms (i.e. hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech or behavior), that occur in the absence of prominent mood symptoms (i.e. depressed mood, elation, irritability). These latter mood symptoms are the hallmark of bipolar disorder.
It is important that you clarify your mother's diagnosis and treatment plan with her psychiatrist. You may also wish to refer to the response on "Living with bipolar disorder family member" posted by Dr. D.E. (Archives 2/25/99).
This response is for general information only.
Keyword: bipolar disorder, delusion, paranoid, schizophrenia  




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