Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of psychosis and mood disorder symptoms. It affects about 1 in every 100 people. More women than men are diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
The symptoms vary from person to person, but most report problems with mood stability and regulation and abnormal thoughts. Mood regulation problems intensify regular moods to an invasive level. Both the psychosis and the mood disorder can cause problems with concentration, sleeping, coherent speech, appetite and energy. Frequently, people with schizoaffective disorder struggle with isolation, as their condition makes it difficult to maintain positive relationships. They may also have poor personal hygiene and struggle in workplace environments.
In diagnosing schizoaffective disorder, health care providers will run tests, both psychological and physical. The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can be also associated with many medical conditions, including substance addiction and bipolar disorder. However, the national alliance on mental illness reports:
According to the DSM-IV-TR, people who experience more than two weeks of psychotic symptoms in the absence of severe mood disturbances—and then have symptoms of either depressionor bipolar disorder—may have schizoaffective disorder. 1
Treatment for Schizoaffective disorder varies. Many times, a health care provider will prescribe anti-depressants or mood stabilizers for the mood-disorder piece, and anti-psychotics to treat the psychosis. Talk therapy can also be used to help patients solve problems and maintain relationships. Group therapy can be helpful in dealing with the isolation issues schizoaffective disorder can cause.
Schizoaffective disorder cannot be cured, but it can be managed. With an effective treatment plan, many people with schizoaffective disorder have found themselves able to return to the level of function they had before the onset of the condition.
1 National Alliance on Mental Illness
Daniayla Stein lives in the DC area as a Digital Communications professional and Graphic Designer. Daniayla is passionate about helping people help themselves through information and advocacy and frequently writes on behavioral health issues, healthcare policy, as well as the occasional poem or two. She graduated from Beloit College in 2012 with a degree in Anthropology and Creative Writing.
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