Bipolar Schizophrenia: 6 of the Most Common Symptoms
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There are different schools of thought on symptoms and diagnoses related to schizophrenia in the field of psychiatry. What’s known as bipolar schizophrenia, or schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type, is associated with symptoms of both bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.


If your psychiatrist is considering this diagnosis, you may be experiencing a severe manic or depressive episode along with symptoms that are different from your usual behavior. You may have a history of experiencing extreme moods, including either manic or depressive symptoms. Receiving this new diagnosis can seem disruptive at a time when you’re already deep in an emotional episode. However, receiving a diagnosis can also help you feel relieved that you know what’s going on with your mental health. Even more positively, it can help you feel empowered to find help with your diagnosis.


This article is about the symptoms you might experience with bipolar schizophrenia and what kinds of treatment can help you.


The basics about schizoaffective disorder: Bipolar type


Getting a diagnosis like schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type is a complicated process. There are several different types of schizophrenia, and many of them have symptoms that overlap with each other and with other disorders. Schizoaffective disorder develops in about 1 out of 200 people. It accounts for about half of schizophrenia diagnoses, which affects 1% of the population. 


Esme Weijun Wang is a writer with schizoaffective disorder — she wrote about what it means to receive this diagnosis in her collection of essays The Collected Schizophrenias.” “Some people dislike diagnoses, disagreeably calling them boxes and labels,” she explains, “but I’ve always found comfort in preexisting conditions; I like to know that I’m not pioneering an inexplicable experience.” 


People with bipolar schizophrenia may need comprehensive support and treatment, but getting this diagnosis doesn’t mean you can’t live a fulfilling life. Going without treatment can make it hard to socialize with other people and create the supportive relationships you need to stay well.


6 common symptoms of bipolar schizophrenia (schizoaffective disorder)


When diagnosing schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type, doctors primarily look for severe mood episodes. Individuals also need to show evidence of major manic symptoms that occur along with psychotic symptoms; psychotic symptoms that last at least two weeks, even when the mood symptoms are under control; and a mood disorder that’s present for most of the mental health challenges. 


Here’s a bit more detail about the symptoms you might experience with schizoaffective disorder:

  • Delusions — A delusion is any thought or belief about something that other people know is not true.

  • Hallucinations — Hallucinations are unreal experiences that can affect any of the five senses. For instance, auditory hallucinations are voices or sounds that only you can hear.

  • Erratic behavior — This is any sudden behavioral change that isn’t typical for any mood disorder episodes you’ve experienced before. It can involve disorganized speech and confusion.

  • Depression — Depression symptoms can look like low energy, feeling sad or hopeless, or avoiding activities you usually enjoy.

  • Hypomania — This is a less intense version of mania: You may experience more energy than usual and feel really good, and it can affect your attention span.However, you may also feel agitated or irritable during a hypomanic episode. 

  • Mania — Mania feels like an excessive positive mood and high energy or overactivity that can get in the way of your usual productivity. 


Lightfully is here to support those with bipolar schizophrenia

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, you should seek support that can help you. At Lightfully, we’re here to support people as they work to improve their mental health. 

We use a process-based therapy (PBT) model, which is more about improving core processes related to things like behaviors and relationships than a diagnostic or symptom-based approach. 

You’ll also get a compassionate and fully personalized treatment plan designed just for you. And this plan will use the most effective aspects of evidence-based treatment to target the root cause of your symptoms. If you’re concerned about receiving a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type, that’s something you can discuss with one of our therapists or psychiatrists. 

Did you know there are levels of mental health care in between Residential Treatment (RTC) and outpatient therapy? These are called structured outpatient programs. Structured outpatient programs are great because you get to sleep in your own bed while receiving a high level of treatment. You’ll come in for up to six or seven hours during the day to receive a variety of different treatments and go home at night. Partial Hospitalization is the highest level of structured outpatient care, and we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP)


Our focus on whole-person-centered care is great for people who want to improve their all-around mental health. We treat symptoms like the ones listed in this article every day, but in the context of your life and your experiences. We’re interested in getting to know the fullest, brightest version of you. 


If you’re ready to explore treatment options, our Admissions Concierge Team can help you determine which one is right for you.

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