Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Wrong Diagnosis - From SZ to Bi-polar Disorder

I joined this forum a little over 5 days ago. I was glad to have found this support group online since there are no support group or organizations in our country regarding SZ.
2 years ago my brother was diagnosed with SZ. He was given Akidin and Risdin as his daily meds. Early this year, he began to take his meds irregularly until we discovered that he stopped taking his meds altogether last May 2014. This led to a relapse and made his condition worse so we had to call professional help and have him admitted in a hospital. We were not able to see him for 7 days as per doctors orders. Today, I met with his doctor and told me that my brother does not have SZ, instead he has Bipolar Disorder. I just want to know if anyone here had the same experience. I would really appreciate some insights, comments, opinions regarding this matter.

Welcome to the forum!

It was the opposite for me - when I was admitted into hospital after a long, gradually worsening relapse, I thought I had Bipolar Disorder after seeing two private pdocs, but in the hospital the pdocs reconfirmed I had schizophrenia (which I was diagnosed with in 2003 following my first breakdown). It came as a shock to me, and was hard to accept, but after research and time, I began to accept it. It can be hard to readjust to a new diagnosis, but I think if your brother was in hospital, they would be more accurate in diagnosing him, because there would be time to observe him intensively. Just take it from there and learn as much as you can about Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar has a lot in common with SZ, but it focuses more on the mood swings than psychosis. Psychosis can be found in Bipolar as well, but it follows the mood, unlike in SZ when it can come apart from the mood disturbance. Speak to your brother’s pdoc to clarify the difference. Good luck!

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Hi Jumbo-and welcome…
it seems to be pretty common that people are misdiagnosed. My son has not had that experinece, but there are others here who have. Sometimes symptoms are so similiar-it is hard to tell.
What`s important is that he get the right meds…
Maybe go with what the doctor is saying for now and see how it goes.

I was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, then it became bipolar disorder, and then schizoaffective disorder.
The diagnosis can change over time, this is very common

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It’s really uplifting to see your responses. We all have our battles, and I know that each of you also have to deal with your challenges. But the time you set aside to respond to the questions I have really means a lot! I’m not just welcoming advise, even words of encouragement are enough to make my family get through this struggle.


My pdoc is sometimes thinking bipolar too. But I have no manic episodes, only depression. But SSRI doesn’t make me manic so maybe I’m not bipolar at all. Got schizophreniform dx in hospital 3,5 years ago.

I was dx bipolar until I told the whole story about the psychosis episodes

My oldest brother has been fighting Sz since he was 17. He’s 29 now. My youngest brother just got diagnosed with bipolar 1. There are some very surprising similarities between my two brothers behavior, insight, and stages of acceptance.

I was only 6 when my oldest brother was suffering. I didn’t understand the severity of a lot of what he went through. Being 18 and seeing my 21 year old brother crumble, now I’m more scared and saddened.

But some of the A.P meds are the same, some of the therapy’s to deal with psychosis have some similarities and even some of the depression and other struggles are the same. The biggest example being the fight to remain med compliant. I’m so glad my oldest brother has been so diligent this past year. It’s changed everything.

I have advised a support group many times just because it helps to get ideas and meet others going through the same thing. My sibling support group is most likely what helped me make it 18 in tact. covers more then just SZ and bipolar and it’s a great place to start when trying to build a support network.

I do hope things get better for you soon.

Thank you for letting me post.

2 pdoc diagnosed me as schizoafective and 2 pdoc diagnosed me as psychotic disorder nos. my second doctor that diagnosed me sza copyed from the first doctors…
I believe i have psychotic disorder nos. because the only symptom i have similar to schizo is, i have delusion the rest of the symptoms are rare. I have research online to find people who have similar symptoms, i came upon few bipolars and the rest of them never been diagnosed.

I apologize ahead of time for posting twice, but I was also thinking about schizoaffective disorder.

I admit that I am very much an outsider looking in, but from what I’ve been gathering, this is a mix of sz symptoms and bipolar symptoms. I’ve seen it listed as a subtype of both bipolar and sz.

If your brother is on the edge between the two illnesses, this might be a clue. But as many people have said on this forum, many times the label doesn’t matter as much as good symptom management.

Thank you again for letting me post.

Interesting. After a minor brush with the law due to a prank gone terribly wrong and some private property damage, my diagnosis has been changed from paranoid schizophrenia to schizoaffective bipolar type, and she said that she plans on doing a different evaluation next time because she thinks bipolar I with psychotic features fits me better than the other ones. I will be turning 24 in December and my diagnosis is still evolving over time. This might explain why I am so high functioning because people with bipolar tend to be higher functioning than those with schizophrenia.

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I could be wrong, but I think it is all the same given there is no definitive test, only: “lets see what happens on this or that med”… Both my SZs have been labeled all of the above over time…

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I think sometimes doctors give a sz patients a diagnosis of bipolar because there is less stigma attached to bipolar, and it’s easier for patients to accept that diagnosis. Certainly, there is some overlap in symptoms.

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