Right now, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) are debating this. It's controversial. There is such a wide range of symptoms/experiences that overlap these diagnoses, it can be a bit of a lottery abouit which one you end up with. It's well known that if you're white and middle class, you're more likely to be diagnosed with bipolar. If you're from a less privaleged background and/or non-white, you're more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Some people start out diagnosed with one, then get that changed to the other. Others are 'parked' into one of the 'holding cell' diagnoses such as schizoaffective or schizotypal until a clearer medical picture can be developed. Treatments that are deployed for schizophrenia are also deployed for bipolar. It's all very convoluted and toucy-feely and imprecise, ultimately. However, the personal and social consequences of the diagnoses are markedly different. In the public consciousness biopolar is considered less frightening, less other. The schizophrenia diagnosis is often thought of as frightening, very 'other' - it's like one brings to mind van gioth and other creative mad geniuses, the other brings to mind the mad axeman, manson-types, murderers, danger. The Japanese have abandoned the term schizophrenia entirely. It's a terrible label, whatever way you look at it. I personally support the abandonment of the schizoprenia label. It's become so damaging, so dehumanising. I hope the APA abanadon the term too, but I doubt it will happen. Which is very sad.