About Schizophrenia and Bipolar I Disorder

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a rare mental illness. Individuals with schizophrenia can experience symptoms that alter how they think and act, such as hallucinations, delusions, and thought or movement disorder. Individuals with schizophrenia can also experience a loss of interest or enjoyment in pleasurable activities and may struggle to maintain attention.Footnote1 While there is no cure for schizophrenia, individuals who receive treatment for their illness may be able to have their symptoms reduced to an extent.Footnote2

Schizophrenia in Adolescents

Even though schizophrenia is typically diagnosed in individuals in their 20s, symptoms can occur in adolescents. Adolescent symptoms may include trouble sleeping, ignoring or avoiding family and friends, and losing motivation for activities or schoolwork. Adolescents with schizophrenia symptoms are more likely to have visual hallucinations (a false perception of reality that seems real) than adults are, but they are less likely to have delusions (false beliefs that an individual believes are real).

What Is Bipolar I Disorder?

Bipolar I disorder is a mental illness that causes large shifts in an individual’s mood, activity levels, and energy. Individuals with bipolar I disorder experience periods of feeling “up,” which may make them feel elated, irritated, or energized (these periods are known as “manic episodes”) as well as periods of feeling “down,” which may make them feel sad, hopeless, or upset (these periods are known as “depressive episodes”). For individuals with bipolar I disorder, manic episodes last for at least seven days and may be so intense that hospitalization may be required. Depressive episodes also occur, usually lasting for at least two weeks.Footnote3

Bipolar I Disorder in Children and Adolescents

Children and adolescents are diagnosed with bipolar I disorder with the same criteria used to diagnose the illness in adults. However, the symptoms of bipolar I disorder can be difficult to identify in children and adolescents, as normally their moods may rapidly change, oftentimes feeling both mania and depression. Due to this struggle, doctors utilize questionnaires for the teachers, caregivers, and the children or adolescents themselves to answer about energy levels, mood, and other qualities.Footnote4


  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizophrenia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354443
  3. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder
  4. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/10/ce-corner-bipolar
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