Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Spectrum May Link Schizophrenia, Bipolar Illness. (Possible Clinical, Genetic Overlap)

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Spectrum May Link Schizophrenia, Bipolar Illness. (Possible Clinical, Genetic Overlap)

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are conventionally considered distinct and separate illnesses, but a case can be made that they are points on a single spectrum, Dr. David Printz said at a schizophrenia conference sponsored by Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute.

A review of clinical, genetic, and neuroscientific data leads to no definite resolution, but there may be more overlap between the conditions than one might think. This ambiguity supports the pragmatic conclusion that "evaluation and treatment of the individual, not the diagnosis, remain more important than ever, said Dr. Printz, director of the bipolar disorder research clinic at the university.

Clinically, schizophrenia and mania symptoms make up distinct lists in DSMIV. But it should be kept in mind that these "were derived from a desire to separate," Dr. Printz said. "In practice, it can be hard to distinguish an acute episode of [one from the other]." Schizophrenia is typically understood as a thought disorder and bipolarity a mood disorder, but affective symptoms are common in the first, and psychotic manifestations in the second. Cognitive dysfunctions occur in both conditions, and the profile of neuropsychological deficits is quite similar, although impairments are much more severe in schizophrenia. …

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