Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition in which someone experiences symptoms of schizophrenia and a mood disorder. The symptoms are often severe, and they may include delusions, hallucinations, lack of pleasure, poor attention, and decreased mood.
Many people who struggle with the disorder are misdiagnosed, and doctors often assume the individual is struggling with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Since the condition is not well-studied, most of the interventions are borrowed from other treatment approaches.Schizoaffective disorder is relatively rare, which could also stem from being misdiagnosed. However, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that a mere 0.3 percent of the population will experience the disorder. Men and women develop the illness at the same rate, and it typically develops at an early age. Schizoaffective disorder has the potential to be managed effectively with therapy and medication, but co-occuring substance abuse is a severe risk that requires integrated treatment.
Since the disorder affects such a small portion of the population, it makes it difficult for doctors to make an accurate diagnosis. Unfortunately, the symptoms are often severe enough to determine without a doubt that it is schizoaffective disorder. Depending on the type of mood disorder that is diagnosed, bipolar disorder, or depression, people may experience differing symptoms. These include:
Due to its rarity and complexity to diagnose the exact cause of the disorder is unknown. There is, however, a combination of factors that may contribute to the development of the disorder. These have been studied extensively by researchers, and they include:
Unfortunately, those who are diagnosed with the disorder must seek early intervention and comprehensive treatment to deal with their diagnosis. Schizoaffective disorder will not go away on its own, but the prognosis is much better than other psychotic disorders.
The treatment options are effective at minimizing the symptoms someone will experience. The critical foundation for a positive recovery is through sustained clinical treatment, which commonly includes medicine as well as psychotherapy.
Recovery success will vary from one person to another, and it’s not possible to predict someone’s rehabilitation success. While some can manage their symptoms with treatment and return to a somewhat ordinary course of life, others can manage their symptoms but will not return to a standard lifestyle. Others, however, will continue to struggle to manage symptoms, even with support and treatment.
The earlier someone gets treatment for schizoaffective disorder, the better chance they will have of minimizing psychological damage. Early intervention, however, will help avoid distress and fallout from the problematic combination of psychotic and mood symptoms.
It’s crucial to develop a working foundation in your life for recovery. A residential treatment center can be a great start that offers access to available treatment options. It will allow the individual to discover what works best for them to conquer their mental illness. While there is no cure for the disorder, continued treatment and long-term supervision can lead to a fulfilling life in recovery.
Ready to get Help?
Talk to a treatment expert
There are two significant differences for a diagnosis. There is a depressive type and a bipolar type. To be diagnosed with the disorder, a person must display the following symptoms:
Allison.bradbury. (2019, April 13). Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disorders
NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/schizoaffective-disorder
Schizophrenia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml
Bipolar Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml
Kiran, C., & Chaudhury, S. (2009, January). Understanding delusions. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016695/