This is my basic understanding of Bipolar vs. Schizophrenia. Often both illnesses are misdiagnosed or confused with others. Manic Depression: My symptoms onset at age 15 I was having a period of high mania, impulsive behaviors, and then crashed into a depressive psychosis. This was mis-diagnosed as schizophrenia because of the severity of the psychosis. My mom had major depression, later evolved into manic depression after prescribed Prozac. My type of Bipolar cannot handle certain medications such as anti-depressants, we cant take stimulants which can also trigger mania, and we are supposed to avoid weed or other drugs. Right now I’m sober, clean, do not drink or do drugs. I’m taking Vistaril which helps for the Generalized Anxiety, and waiting to find a medication that works better than Abilify if I need to add one.
I struggle with bouts of depressive apathy to high mania, but not moody. I have pretty good control of my moods, and do not let myself get too depressed or too happy. It’s about self control and willpower.
Genetic, it runs in families. I inherited it from my mom who also has another genetic condition which involved gene duplication and nerve problems.
Suicide and promiscuity is also an issue with Bipolar. Schizophrenia, however, is more consistent. Schizophrenia is harder to control and combat. Some fixed beliefs a lot of people cannot overcome with just medication, and may need a psychotherapist to help them re-program their minds/thoughts.
IMO the difference between a thought disorder and a mood disorder: affect. If your energy is causing the shift in consciousness, it could be Bipolar or manic depression. However if your thoughts are constantly strange, it could be more of the Schizo or a type of muted behavior more common in schizophrenia.
There is also a possible factor that these disorders are on the same spectrum. Perhaps one evolved out of the other. Schizophrenia could be one spectrum of Bipolar and vise versa.
I still have trouble myself differing the two.