Bipolar or Schizophrenia?

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  • Question


    Vanessa writes:


    I met my Doctor today. The conversation started to sound more about another diagnosis.


    It sounded like I had schizophrenia. All the conversation was about my delusions and my mood swings and I felt like I was being pulled in two different mood disorders.


    When I got home I looked up the medication (Invega) and it was for schizophrenia patients. Talk about being confused.


    Do doctors combine medications from many different groups of meds to help a person?


    Am I still Bipolar? I have many schizophrenia signs in my behavior what is that am I really messed up?



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    Hi, Vanessa. Two main points:

    1. Bipolar and schizophrenia symptoms often overlap. For example, depression (most commonly identified with bipolar) occurs in schizophrenia, and psychosis and cognition problems (most commonly identified with schizophrenia) occur in bipolar. Both illnesses are classified as "severe," but - as a general rule of thumb - patients with bipolar are far more functional and have a much better prognosis. Chances are, if you were coherent enough to write this, you have bipolar and not schizophrenia, but that is not my call to make.
    2. Using the same meds to treat both illnesses is common practice. The atypical antipsychotics all came on the market first to treat schizophrenia, and all but one later received an FDA bipolar mania indication. Invega - an atypical antipsychotic - only just arrived on the market this year. It is basically "Son of Risperdal," which already has a mania indication. My guess is the mania indication will be soon in coming for Invega.

    Please do not hesitate to give your psychiatrist the third degree when prescribing an antipsychotic. You can find my reasoning in two blogs here and here.


Published On: September 20, 2007