Employment and Schizoaffective Disorder

Working is an important part of life for everyone who’s able. Work provides a daily sense of self-worth and accomplishment as you complete tasks, work toward goals, or contribute to teams. Many of us would daydream about no longer having to work, but even retirees often fall into some daily tasks, whether it’s a part-time job, a hobby, or volunteering. 

Work, or some sort of structured, daily pursuit, is essential to a healthy lifestyle and sound mental health. But for most people, it’s more than just a good mental health practice; it is a necessity to make ends meet. So, what happens when serious mental health issues like schizoaffective disorder make work more difficult?

When schizoaffective disorder and other severe mental health issues are treated and managed, maintaining employment is not only possible, it’s healthy. Learn more about employment and schizoaffective disorder. 

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder is a psychotic disorder that shares some similarities with schizophrenia, though they are two different diagnoses. Schizophrenia is characterized by audio and visual hallucinations or delusions that last longer than six months. Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of psychotic symptoms with major depression or manic episodes. Schizoaffective disorders may be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia because they share similarities with both.

Schizoaffective disorder can come with the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions 
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Slow movements
  • Low motivation
  • Slow speech
  • Disorganized speech
  • Depression

These symptoms may make work more challenging at times, and if the condition is left untreated, it can indeed affect multiple aspects of your life, including your work and social relationships. But if your schizoaffective disorder is under control, work can be extremely important to effective recovery.

Schizoaffective disorder can be treated with medications and therapy options. The treatment you might go through will depend on the symptoms you experience. For instance, if you experience hallucinations or delusions, you may take antipsychotic medication. If you experience depressive episodes, you may take antidepressants.

Why Work Is Important?

A job or any significant daily task is an important part of treatment and recovery for people with mental health issues like schizoaffectivework-and-ptsd disorder and schizophrenia. Stigma might suggest that people with major mental illnesses can’t work, but when their disorders are treated and managed, they can work. 

In fact, a study from psychiatric researcher Zlatka Russinova, PhD, found that 75 percent of participants with major mental health issues maintained the same job for 24 months or more. The participants had mental health problems, including major depression, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder. 

A 2009 study looked at middle-aged people with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder and found that work had a therapeutic value that was reflected in improved quality of life. In fact, they saw more quality of life improvements that didn’t seek competitive employment. Some employment programs all over the country, specifically train and employ people with major mental health issues.

In some cases, people with mental health issues like schizoaffective disorder take active roles in management, customer services, and other significant roles.

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