Schizoaffective disorder is a condition in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia symptoms — such as hallucinations or delusions — and mood disorder symptoms, such as mania or depression.
Schizoaffective disorder is not as well understood or well defined as other mental health conditions. This is largely because schizoaffective disorder is a mix of mental health conditions — including schizophrenic and mood disorder features — that may run a unique course in each affected person.
Untreated, people with schizoaffective disorder may lead lonely lives and have trouble holding down a job or attending school. Or, they may rely heavily on family or live in supported living environments, such as group homes. Treatment can help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with schizoaffective disorder.
Psychotic features and mood disturbances may occur at the same time or may appear on and off interchangeably. The course of schizoaffective disorder usually features cycles of severe symptoms followed by a period of improvement, with less severe symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may include, among others:
If you think someone you know may have schizoaffective disorder symptoms, talk to that person about your concerns. Although you can't force someone to seek professional help, you can offer encouragement and support and help your loved one find a qualified doctor or mental health provider.
Suicidal thoughts or behavior
Expression of suicidal thoughts or behavior may occur in someone with schizoaffective disorder. If you have a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.