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Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 26th, 2020


Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are psychiatric disorders that affect youths especially in the adolescent stage. Although the two disorders have different classification, they have similar causative agents, signs and symptoms, which can lead to misdiagnosis. However, a severe schizophrenia disorder may be similar to bipolar disorder especially when the victims experience mental disturbances.

Bipolar disorder

This psychiatry disorder alters the patient’s perception of normal occurrences hence increasing their temperamental levels. The cause is either through familial characteristics (genetic), psychological or environmental issues. Genetically, an alteration in the serotonin, dopamine and glutamate genes may be the cause of the disease.

However, due to inveterate inconsistent in clinical research on the condition, the real genes that affect the motor neurons in the brain are yet to be established.

Alternatively, an individual with peculiar genes may be susceptible to the disorder (Serretti and Mandelli 743). The peculiar genes occur due to mutations especially in children born to old parents. Psychologically, “an alteration and dysfunction in the brain regions like globus pallidus, prefrontal cortex and the hypothalamus in the pituitary axis elevates stress” (Koehler 5).

The organelle mitochondrion is the cause of high-energy production leading to stress. Additionally, psychic trauma incurred during childhood eventually lead to stress. Awful ordeals like rape, fights amongst parents and frequent corporal punishment may lead to bipolar disorder especially in adulthood. Therefore, the close interactions of genetic, psychological and environmental factors lead to severe cases of bipolar disorder.


A series of mood changes accompanies bipolar disorder hence altering the normal behavior of an individual. Often, one sign leads to the other; for instance, depression may lead to mania then hypomania and finally a combination of the first signs. The depression stage manifests itself through insomnia, anger, loneliness coupled with unhappiness and eventually a feeling of guilty. Hallucinatory episodes and painful feeling may lead to temptation of committing suicide.

Due to dysfunction of the mitochondria, high energy levels lead to mania. Similarly, insomnia is frequent. Victims decide to abuse drugs and become alcoholic as a way to curb the disorder hence reduces the depression levels. Hypomania is not severe in that the patient appears normal and may deny being in depression.

Psychiatrists are usually unable to diagnose a patient at this stage. However, individuals have a decrease in memory levels hence poor recalling abilities. Surprisingly, this stage can be unnoticed, which makes the victim to have severe disorder.

A combination of the mania and depression can lead to severe cases of insomnia, drug abuse, alcoholism and eventually death due to suicide. Although psychiatrists find it hard to diagnose bipolar disorder, clear observation of the signs and behavioral changes are used. American Psychological Association (APA) says that, both the clinical officer and close relatives who experience the patients’ ordeals help in the diagnosis (355). The treatment is through psychological therapy and use of drugs like anticonvulsants and mood stabilization drugs.


This mental disorder alters the emotion of the individuals’ hence normal thinking. The main causes of schizophrenia are either environmental, genetic, neural dysfunction or psychological trauma. Genetically, a familial history contributes to the occurrence of schizophrenia. Additionally, possessions of certain genes cause the disorder. Researchers associate some proteins to the disorder, scientist link zinc and histone proteins genes to schizophrenia.

Various environmental factors lead to schizophrenia disorder in some individuals. Motherhood before and after birth predispose the infant to the disorder. Eating disorders and other infection predisposed to the infant during infancy may cause mental dysfunction after birth. Individuals who grow up in abuse relationships also may incur the disorder. Some factors like drug abuse due to peer pressure and lack of good parentage may be among the causes.

The use of hard drugs like cannabis and cocaine alters an individual normal thinking hence emotional perception. Most of these drugs lead to overdependence altering the functions of the neurons specifically in the brain region. Hallucinatory episodes, unclear communication, antisocial behavior are among the common signs.

Due to mood swings and unhappiness filled with anger, patients may attempt suicide to stop their suffering. Fortunately, schizophrenia has treatment, which includes psychological therapy, social therapy and use of drugs. Clozapine, perphanazine, quetiapine and risperidone among others medically curb the disorder.

Similarities and differences between schizophrenia and bipolar

The two disorders affect the mental ability of the individual. They have similar causative agents and symptomatic stages. Both disorders alter the normal behavior of an individual. Psychological and brain dysfunction are the main causes of the disorders. Similarly, environmental issues like drug abuse, physical abuse and poor parental are among the causes.

Additionally, genetic factors like familial factors and hereditary of defective genes contribute to the disorders. The two disorders have similar symptoms a fact that gives psychiatrist tough time to diagnose the disorders and eventually may lead to misdiagnosis. Both symptoms manifest through hallucinations, insomnia and depression, which aggravates the patients ability to indulge in hard drugs. Sever cases of both disorders end up in suicidal cases from the victims.

After keen observation, both medical intervention and psychotherapy curb the disorders. The main obstacle in that makes patient not seek medical intervention is social stigma because relatives and neighbors perceive the patients as mad people. Parents of the victims hide indoors their children to curb shame that comes with the disease.


There is administration of different drugs to patients with these disorders. However, the drugs used in schizophrenia have severe side effects, which may even lead to the death of the individual. Similarly, depending on the stage of schizophrenia a small percentage of patients mount resistance to the drugs. However, Bipolar disorder treatment has less cases of resistance mainly because the drugs used aim at inhibiting the function of aggravating genes like serotonin and dopamine.

McGlashan observes that, “sometimes, schizophrenia disorder may present in form of bipolar hence leading to difficulty in medications” (143). Therefore, in such a case, there is double diagnosis but treatment becomes a challenge due the use of different drugs. Sadly, some patients decide to forego any form of treatment and this culminates to death.


In summary, bipolar and schizophrenia affect mental hence emotions of the individuals. Therefore, they are mental disorders, which may be fatal if untreated. Environmental, genetic, familial and psychological factors are the main causes of the diseases. The similarities in the factors causing the disorders and eventual symptoms pose a challenge to medical practitioner during diagnosis.

However, the medical interventions are through combination of both administration of drugs and psychological therapy. Sometimes, schizophrenia patients end up dying due to inability to respond to drugs hence one of the medical challenges. Finally, parental genes whether defective or not predispose their children to schizophrenia and bipolar. Therefore, there is need of gene therapy especially when the disorder is hereditary.

Works Cited

APA. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: USA Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2000.

Koehler, Brian. “Bipolar Disorder, Stress, and the HP Axis.”The International Society for The Psychological Treatment of Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses, 2005. Web.

McGlashan, Thomas. “Testing DSM-III symptom criteria for schizotypal and borderline Personality disorders.” Journal of , 1987. Web. < >

Serretti, Alessandro, and Mandelli, Luigi. “The genetics of bipolar disorder: genome ‘hot regions,’ genes, new potential candidates and future directions.” Molecular Psychiatry 13.8 (2008): 742–71.

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