For those who are SZA or Bipolar

How were you diagnosed? Hospitalized for mood only symptoms? Or did you just describe your symptoms to your Dr?

First my parents church pastor told me at 4am I was having symptoms of bipolar disorder and to go to a psychiatrist immediately.

I got to a psychiatrist 1 year later and was told I had bipolar.
Then another doc said I had schizophrenia.
Then another one schizofreniform
Now my latest one bipolar mixed type with psychosis.
And my pdoc wanted me to go on disability this year cuz I was struggling to work but I managed to get a job that works for me.
Still have all the forms filled out sitting in the cupboard
It’s been over 10 years since the first dx


This was decades ago, but my mom insisted that I go in to see a psychiatrist. I really didn’t think there was anything wrong, but the psychiatrist told me I had SZA. Then in 2008 my diagnosis was changed to Paranoid Sz.

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I was diagnosed sz at 23 my therapist noticed and heard my complaints about my mood and decided to talk to my nurse about it… In the end my nurse asked me about it and I said yes I was having mood problems and she put me on a mood stabilizer and it helped I wasn’t told much more besides from my therapist saying I probably had bipolar and my nurse giving me mood stabilizer

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During college at a frat party I took a powerful hallucinogenic drug and soon dropped out of college because my symptoms flared up.
Weeks later I became increasingly paranoid and manic so my parents made me see this psychiatrist.
He prescribed a powerful typical antipsychotic and although he diagnosed me with anxiety nos on paper he later told my Mom that I suffered with schizophrenia.

My second psychiatrist diagnosed me with bipolar and prescribed mood stabilizers and years later an additional antipsychotic, Abilify.

I was hospitalized during this time because I was given a tricyclic antidepressant.

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I was diagnosed with a mood disorder for a long time. When I was hospitalized they changed my diagnosis to include psychosis. Eventually it led to the diagnosis of sza bipolar type. I’ve been hospitalized for major depression, psychosis and mania.

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Originally as a teen I suffered some big events in my life which coincided with lots of pot smoking and drinking. Eventually I went psychotic for months and was diagnosed with drug enduced psychosis. But then as the years went by I was getting hospitalised a few more times with bouts of mania and psychosis, even without the use of drugs or alcohol. So it was changed to sza. And now years later I still end up hospitalised every couple of years. Seems like it’s permanent now, despite being mostly under control from the meds.

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At around age 20 I was diagnosed with schizophrenia paranoia when DSM still had different types. Later at about age 30, my diagnosis was changed to schizoaffective disorder. Honestly, I still think my first diagnosis is correct. I’ve heard from several people in the medical field that schizoaffective disorder has a better prognosis.

Generally speaking, I get hospitalized when I’m out of touch with reality, hearing voices, suffering from delusions that type of thing.

When I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia paranoia it was during my second hospitalization. First I remember hearing I had acute psychosis.

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Initially diagnosed as depression w psychosis when I was hospitalized. Went from psych to psych just because I was moving so much and in and out of treatment. Years later I was hospitalized for the same thing but my moods were swinging wildly so they thought sza or bipolar. My outpatient Dr told me several months later it was sza.

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Went to a psychiatrist after years of unstable mood and was diagnosed bipolar. Hospitalized shortly afterwards in a depressive episode with some delusions. Years later I got a new pdoc who listened to me describe my paranoia that seems to be around most the time and some of the other things I’d experienced and changed it to sza.

I should add also that there was a time when my original pdoc thought it was bipolar and my therapist thought it was sz. Ironic a 3rd opinion put it firmly in between.

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My mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia and my older sister was diagnosed with bipolar 1, back then, at the time. But I thought nothing was wrong with me besides some depression… Until one day.

One day, at work, I had the most severe reality disconnect from my surroundings (derealization). Once I was feeling more grounded, I did some Googling. I did LOTS of research. Some of the first results were schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar.

So, I thoroughly researched all three conditions. But when I researched, in depth, about schizoaffective bipolar type, I just had a huge realization. That’s me…

I had been seeing “ghosts” (vividly) for a decade, I had severe paranoia which I previous thought was just anxiety, I had severe delusions (but I didn’t realize that until after I started meds), I got really hyper sometimes and just went on cleaning sprees and spending sprees, I also got so severely depressed at times that I almost killed myself, etc…

I printed out some papers, from a medical website, about schizoaffective. I brought the papers to my counselor/therapist and told her that I was pretty sure I had SzA. She said I didn’t have any of the symptoms. I did, though. So, I left to my car, called my husband, and cried. Hubby told me to find an actual psychiatrist who specializes in psychotic disorders.

So, I did. I found a psychiatrist who specializes in psychotic disorders.

I told that psychiatrist about my suspicions, about me having SzA. She was very open to it but said I’d have to try some meds, first, to help figure out for sure what to diagnose me with.

First, she diagnosed me with bipolar 2, when I started meds. After like 6 months, she changed the diagnosis to schizoaffective bipolar type, which is what I was sure I had when I first saw her.

Since then, I got a new psychiatrist. She also diagnosed me with SzA. So did the hospital doctors when I was inpatient at the psych ward. And I was just diagnosed again by the Same-Day Psychiatry Clinic doctor, with SzA.

So, I figured it out myself, But I had some mental illness already in my family, so that kinda led me in the right direction. Then multiple doctors actually diagnosed me with it.

Yep, that’s my story!

:mouse: :blossom:


I’m back.

I was diagnosed at 21. It was really just to get on disability because my family was concerned that I hadn’t worked in a year. I had symptoms of depression and was paranoid that I was losing my mind but I really was just seeing shadows. Probably from mushrooms in my teens. I wasn’t hospitalized then. I had friends then. We would go out drinking and play pool and darts on the weekends but I was pretty reclusive and heartbroken. I would drink whiskey and cry at night to music. I didn’t really lose it again until I was 22 I became extremely dissociative, didn’t know who I was. At 23 I was driving around smoking spliffs listening to music. I would go for these 3 hour drives at night and thought Dan Brown wanted to turn me into the new jesus christ but didn’t tell anybody.

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It starts with depressive symptoms and anxiety when I was a teenager.
After highschool, I curled up on me, having no friends at all.
My parents convinced me to see a pdoc after I denied my problems for a long time.
Then the pdoc told me I had to go in a post-hospitalization shelter. (Before going to hospital).
I went after that many times to psych ward mostly for delusion, depression, mixed episodes.
Once my pdoc told me I was sza.
There are many other things to tell but I am shortening.

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Nice stories all. All the psychiatrists I have seen said I have sz not sza but on Abilify I feel hyper, spend too much, become hypersexual etc That was mainly with Abilify though, so Dr took me off the Abilify instead of diagnosing me with a mood disorder. I don’t have these issues anymore on 6mg risperdal. But now if I go under 6mg I get irritable and agitated, I also spend a bit more bcz of impulsivity. I guess its the sz.

My symptoms started young with wild delusions, internal preoccupation. I got diagnosed Major Depressive with psychosis when I was 20. That was my first inpatient stint.
Year later and many aborted suicide attempts, small ER visits to get stitches and glue, I was sent back to inpatient for what I did to myself. Diagnosed Bipolar 1.
College ended. I found a psych in my area. She immediately labeled me Schizoaffective bipolar subtype. I had clear episodes of psychosis independent to my mania and depression. I was seeing full on people and constantly receiving command hallucinations. Not pretty.

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before i was diagnosed i used to joke around i was bipolar, with my ups and downs. but then a few years went by and i was diagnosed schizophrenic. i was pretty catatonic when i was diagnosed, and not really animated like usual and the pdoc told me i was schizophrenic. i kept that diagnosis for a few years until another hospitalization where they changed my diagnosis to schizoaffective, and then later after another hospitalization my new pdoc told me i was schizoaffective bipolar type which i have to say is pretty accurate and probably should have been my diagnosis all along, the only 2 meds i’ve tried is risperdal, which i always stopped taking and invega now for 5 years without missing any injections.

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@aziz what symptoms of sz do you have? As far as I know mood disorders can look like sz to a doctor. I was diagnosed with bipolar for about 7 years. My mind split after that and the doctors realized i was sza. I actually have no idea what type of sz I am. I have symptoms from most types and some sort of problem with my mood

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I also know a guy who took abilify when he didn’t need it. And he freaked out and I don’t think he ever fully cAme back from it. Just saying, please be careful

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Now on 6mg risperdal I just have sz negative symptoms.

Cognitive symptoms too. Idk if negative and cognitive symptoms are caused by low dopamine, maybe.