Bipolar II or Schizophrenia?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I hospitalized three times for attempted suicide. said bipolar 2 disorder, on meds for schizophrenia: I had what i term to be some sort of break down four years ago. I believed that the school system, my friends and family were trying to take my children from me. I would see random things like book titles that were laying around the house that led me to believe this to be true. I believed that songs that came on the radio were trying to warn me also. I quit showering, grooming and everything because I believed that there were video cameras that were placed throughout my house, in my car, and that i could be monitored throught the tv in my home or where ever i was by the police.Everytime i would see a police cruiser, i thought they were following me. I was seeing someone at the time,we were engaged to be married. I started believing my fiancee and my sister were secretly seeing each other and along with everyone I know and ever knew were trying to kill me by poisoning my food, drinks, or by doing/saying things to make me feel as is if I was loosing my mind. This lead me to barely eat anything for a period of three months. I tried talking to a few people as to what was going on, but only to have them think i was blowing it out of proportion, even my family doctor.I sat in my mothers living room at one time screaming and crying while home alone because i was surrounded by fire. I was convinced that my family was going to lock me in the basement and burn the house down to get my kids away from me. I would go outside and sit crouched facing the corner with a hood over my head just to smoke because i was so terrified. I tried to talk to my mom and aunt to tell them what was happening with me, to no avail. This lead me to try suicide on three seperate occassions within a year. I was hospitalzed on all three occassions being told i had bipolar 2 disorder. But one thing about that is, they had no clue of the things i was seeing/hearing. They never asked. Not one time. I have been placed on several different medications (9 at one time). we have tried depekote, and geodon but they just zombify me to the point where i can not function at all, just sleep. I fight insomnia but at the same time have days where i can not get to sleep. I have rapid thoughts that lead into anger and just break down and cry, even at work. My doctor has placed me on latuda to try and control the symptoms. But the research i have done says that this medication is for schizophrenia and is not approved for bipolar disorder. I dont really know much about schizophrenia and when i try to talk to my doctor about my diagnosis whether it be the bipolar or schizophrenia, he has just asked me why i would want to label myself. I don’t, i want to know more about the conditions so as to educate myself and how to control and recognize what the symptoms are to get a handle so i know what to do and how to recognize when im coming into a crisis situation, i do not have a support group, im on my own with this. My question is, does the bipolar 2 disorder have this sort of symptomology, or is this more leaning toward the paranoid schizophrenia? the Latuda does help control the delusional thinking to a point, but the paranoia is very hard to keep at bay. I just need a better understanding of what is going on with me. Thyroid has been ruled out, but the seratonin levels are all out of whack. Thank you ahead of time for your time and understanding.

A. It is difficult to know precisely which disorder you may have. It’s possible that you have schizophrenia but another possibility is schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is loosely a combination of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In many cases, finding the right treatment is more important than pinning down a diagnosis.

What may be happening in your case is that you withheld information from your prescribing doctor, and were given an ineffective medication. To the best of your ability, it’s important to report all of your symptoms so that you can receive the most appropriate treatment. My advice is to contact the prescribing physician, report every symptom and be as honest as possible. Given new information, your doctor may prescribe a different medication which could significantly reduce your symptoms. Having the right medication could be the difference between having controlled and uncontrolled symptoms.

You also stated that you have no support. Is there a support group in your local community? Are friends and family willing to assist you? At this point in time, you need as much support as possible.

You’ve been through a lot. You have been battling significant mental health symptoms for at least four years and you refuse to give up the fight. I admire your determination and persistence. Having the proper medication could greatly assist you in reducing or potentially eliminating your symptoms. Talk to your doctor and hopefully, a change can be made immediately that would bring you relief. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Apr 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Bipolar II or Schizophrenia?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/04/07/bipolar-ii-or-schizophrenia/

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