What is Schizoaffective Disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health condition marked by a combination of psychotic and mood symptoms.
What is Schizoaffective Disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health disorder marked by a combination of symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood symptoms such as depression or mania. “Schizo” refers to the psychotic symptoms, and “affective” refers to the mood symptoms.
Schizoaffective Disorder vs. Schizophrenia
Schizoaffective disorder symptoms often look very similar to those of schizophrenia, as both disorders include the presence of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations refer to false sensory perceptions such as hearing voices, seeing images, or feeling sensations that are not there in reality. Delusions refer to false beliefs such as believing a family member has been replaced by aliens, among many other examples.2
Differences Between Schizoaffective Disorder and Schizophrenia
Schizoaffective Disorder vs. Bipolar Disorder
What Are the Types of Schizoaffective Disorder?
- Bipolar Disorder Type: Schizoaffective disorder bipolar type includes a combination of both symptoms of mania and depression.
- Depressive Type: Schizoaffective disorder depressive type is the presence of symptoms of depression without mania.
How Does Schizoaffective Disorder Affect People?
What Causes Schizoaffective Disorder?
- Genetics: Schizoaffective disorder genetic risk factors include having a close blood relative who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder.
- Brain Chemistry: Brain chemistry has been shown to be related to schizoaffective disorder symptoms. People with this disorder have been shown to have lower levels of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which helps carry messages between brain cells.
- Brain Structure: It is also possible that the size and composition of structures of the brain, such as the hippocampus and thalamus, may be associated in developing schizoaffective disorder.
- Environmental Factors: The environmental factors that may be associated with the development of schizoaffective disorder symptoms include stressful life events, trauma, or even viral infections.
- Drug Use: The use of psychoactive or mind-altering substances, such as LSD, may contribute to developing schizoaffective disorder or a substance-induced disorder.
What Are the Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder?
- Delusions, or false beliefs that have no basis in reality but that the individual will hold on to regardless of the evidence against such beliefs.
- Hallucinations, which are the experience of perceived sensations that are not actually occurring, such as hearing voices or seeing images that are not there.
- Disorganized speech, which is the difficulty of forming clear or coherent speech, or unclear thinking.
- Exhibiting odd or unusual behavior, such as sitting or standing in unusual positions.
- Paranoia, which can be intense feelings of fear related to conspiracy or threat.
- Flat affect, which is the lack of emotion in facial expression and speech.
- Poor motivation.
- Slow movements or inability to move, also known as dystonia or catatonia.
- Loss of interest in activities once found to be pleasurable
- Low or sad mood
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Guilt or self-blame
- Lack of energy
- Poor appetite
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Trouble thinking or concentrating
- Unusual weight loss or weight gain
- Being easily irritated or agitated
- Talking very quickly or rapidly
- Social and sexual activity that is out of the norm
- Inflated self-esteem or self-importance
- Rapid or racing thoughts or being easily distracted
- Self-destructive or dangerous behavior, such as having unsafe sex, recklessly driving, or increased overspending
How is Schizoaffective Disorder Diagnosed?
- Having chronic, uninterrupted periods of mental illness
- Exhibiting episodes of mania, depression, or a mix of both while also having symptoms of schizophrenia
- Having no evidence of a substance-induced disorder or medication causing the symptoms
- At least two weeks of psychotic symptoms occurring without mood symptoms
How is Schizoaffective Disorder Treated?
Schizoaffective disorder treatment usually involves the use of various treatment procedures to be the most effective. For the best schizoaffective disorder prognosis, treatment uses a combination of psychotropic medications, psychotherapy, and skills training.
- Social skills focus on improving communication and socialization. These can also include the improvement of daily activities such as grooming and self-care.
- Vocational skills focus on preparing for, obtaining, and maintaining a job, as well as financial and home management.
- Coping skills for schizoaffective disorder can include carefully monitoring medications, paying attention to warning signs, joining a support group, keeping a daily journal, avoiding isolation, eating properly, etc.
Can Schizoaffective Disorder Be Prevented?
Get Help For Schizoaffective Disorder At Pacific Beach Health
If you or a loved one is seeking treatment for schizoaffective disorder, the highly trained professionals at Pacific Beach Health can help. Pacific Beach Health provides a holistic, individualized approach to help individuals and families overcome behavioral health struggles.
For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of schizoaffective disorder, contact Pacific Beach Health today.
- https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/schizoaffective-disorder-vs-bipolar-disorder – symptoms