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Schizoaffective disorder

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.

 

Symptoms


Schizoaffective disorder symptoms vary from person to person. People who have the condition experience psychotic symptoms — such as hallucinations or delusions — as well as a mood disorder. The mood disorder is either bipolar disorder (bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder) or depression (depressive-type 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:

  • Delusions — having false, fixed beliefs
  • Hallucinations, such as hearing voices
  • Major depressed mood episodes
  • Possible periods of manic mood or a sudden increase in energy and behavioral displays that are out of character
  • Impaired occupational and social functioning
  • Problems with cleanliness and physical appearance
  • Paranoid thoughts and ideas



When to see a doctor

 

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.

 

Risk factors


Factors that increase the risk of developing schizoaffective disorder include having a close biological (blood) relative who has:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder

Complications

People with schizoaffective disorder are at an increased risk of:

  • Social isolation
  • Unemployment
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Developing alcohol or other substance abuse problems
  • Significant health problems
  • Suicide

Treatment ( Psychotherapy )

Adlerian Therapy
Behavior Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral Therapy
Existential Therapy
Gestalt Therapy
Person-centered Therapy
Psychoanalytic
Rational-emotive Therapy
Reality Therapy
Transactional Analysis

Treatment ( Pharmacotherapy )

Clozaril
Compazine
Etrafon
Haldol
Haldol Decanoate
Inapsine
Lidone
Loxitane
Mellaril
Moban
Navane
Orap
Permitil
Prolixin
Prolixin Decanoate
Prolixin Enanthate
Proketazine
Risperdal
Serentil
Sparine
Stelazine
Taractan
Thorazine
Tindal
Trilafon
Vesprin

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