Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are two distinct mental health disorders that can be easily confused due to their overlapping symptoms. However, they are two separate conditions with different causes and treatments.
Bipolar disorderis characterized by extreme mood swings, while schizophrenia is characterized by delusions and hallucinations. Bipolar disorder can make it difficult to perform daily activities due to changes in mood and energy levels.
On the other hand, schizophrenia affects a person's ability to think clearly and relate to others, while mood problems are not as important. Although both disorders have some common traits, they also have key differences. Bipolar disorder is estimated to occur in 1% of the population, while schizophrenia is estimated to occur in less than 1%. Studies have shown that there is an excess of gray matter in both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
However, only 20-50% of people with bipolar disorder will experience a psychotic episode, whereas this is a common symptom of schizophrenia. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is used by mental health professionals to diagnose bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder. Bipolar disorder is affected by genetic factors, and twin studies have shown a greater correlation of diagnosis between identical twins than between non-identical twins. Structural abnormalities of the ventrolateral and orbitofrontal cortex have been observed in patients with familial bipolar disorder.
Additionally, medial and superior temporal revolving volumes and cerebral asymmetry have been observed in schizophrenia versus bipolar disorder. Voxel-based morphometry has also revealed regional differences in cerebral gray matter volume in patients with bipolar disorder compared to healthy controls. Deficits in cerebral gray matter volume have been observed in schizophrenia, while excess has been observed in bipolar disorder compared to healthy controls.