Oct 18, 2013

Amanda Bynes Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder And Schizophrenia

For months people have been talking about the behavior of Amanda Bynes. Her very open and outlandish Tweets that included pictures of herself, one with a caption commenting on how fat she looks. Amanda’s behavior has been a true cause for concern, and now it seems a lot of it can be explained: Ms. Bynes has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The dual diagnosis comes as the result of Amanda’s care at the UCLA Medical Center. Her parents reportedly intervened and had Amanda committed to the psychiatric center where, based on her “concerning state of wellbeing”, doctors requested she be put on a psychiatric hold.

Private Treatment Center

Amanda has since been relocated to a private treatment center, outside of Los Angeles, for what they are calling “specialized treatment.” The recommendation came from the UCLA Medical Center staff and news sources report that Rick and Lynn Bynes issued a statement about their daughter’s recent hospitalization and why she changed treatment locations: “Amanda was stuck with people in much worse condition than her. She was scared, afraid and did not leave her immediate room area. She is getting specialized psych care, one on one treatment, not drug rehab.”

90 Days In Treatment

The plan is for Amanda to spend at least 90 days in the facility she and her family have chosen, which has not been publicly confirmed, but is said to specialize in and focus on mental health care. Most likely the program is dual diagnosis, meaning it will treat each of Amanda’s diagnoses at the same time.

She will create an individualized treatment plan, with a therapist, to address the symptoms of each disorder, to adopt coping skills and tools for each, and to heal underlying emotional pain that has kept Amanda sick. Dual diagnosis clients receive concurrent treatment for both disorders, so in Amanda’s case, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and potentially an eating disorder, will all be treated.

What is Bipolar Affective Disorder?

What used to be called manic depression is now called Bipolar Affective Disorder and comes in two forms, Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Those suffering from either type go through periods of extreme mania and extreme depression without warning of a shift, and with onset occurring in a person’s twenties.

Mania involves a persistent, elevated, and irritated mood, inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, talkativeness, distractibility, increased goal-directed activity, and excessive involvement in activities that seem to be pleasurable, but that actually have a high potential for negative consequences, like drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, or unsafe sex.

Episodes Of Major Depression

The episodes of major depression include lack of interest in activities, disturbances in sleep and appetite patterns, an inability to concentrate, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, feelings of inadequacy, and suicidal thoughts.

The greatest danger of untreated Bipolar Affective Disorder is the potential for frequent suicidal thoughts and actual suicide attempts.

What is Schizophrenia?

This mental illness, categorized as a thought disorder, is chronic and is estimated to affect around 1% of the entire population with onset generally in the late teen and early adult years. Those suffering from its symptoms are said to experience hallucinations (false physical perceptions), delusions (false beliefs), inappropriate affect (illogical emotional responses), ambivalence while making decisions, poor association (difficulty connecting thoughts and ideas), inability to care for oneself, disorganized speech, a detachment from reality, poor job performance, and strained relationships.

Schizophrenics often self-medicate the symptoms with drugs and alcohol, not knowing the origin or how else to cope. The complications of the illness with cocaine, amphetamines, uppers (like MDMA or ecstasy), psychedelics (LSD, PCP, or peyote), and alcohol can lead to misdiagnosis because drug effects overlap with the disorder’s symptoms.

How Does Treatment Work for Both Disorders?

An assessment for anyone presenting for treatment helps to identify exactly where treatment efforts should be focused. If a client is found to have clinically appropriate diagnoses for Bipolar Affective Disorder and Schizophrenia, the care will include therapeutic interventions and medication management for each disorder at the same time.

If this client has also been abusing substances and engaged in the behaviors of an eating disorder (E.D.), specific treatment modalities will also be added to the treatment plan that focus on abstinence from drugs, alcohol, and E.D. behaviors.


When a client enters treatment, an assessment guides the treatment team toward a recommendation for care. The team is educated, trained, and experienced in the healing of people like Amanda Bynes, who have been suffering from one or more mental illnesses and have been self-medicating in an effort to cope and to feel better.

If you, or someone you care about, is showing signs of mental illness, substance abuse or addiction, an eating disorder, or any combination of these disorders, contact a qualified reputable treatment center.

John Lloyd works for Serenity Malibu and has a passion for helping people in addiction recovery learn more about his work at http://www.serenitymaliburehab.com/.

Image Credit: 1, 2.

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