A schizoaffective disorder is a type of mental illness that includes symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder. Schizoaffective disorders are often mistaken for bipolar disorder because the two share some similar features, but there are also many differences. The average age when people with schizoaffective disorder first show signs of their condition is in their late teens to early twenties, while most people with bipolar disorder don’t experience symptoms until they’re older than thirty years old.
Causes of schizoaffective disorder?
The exact cause of the schizoaffective disorder is unknown. They suppose that a number of factors are involved, including:
Genetics: genetics seem to play a role in the development of schizoaffective disorder;
Drug abuse: using drugs like marijuana can trigger symptoms, bring them on sooner or make them worse. Heavy alcohol use may also be associated with developing this mental illness;
Physical problems: some physical illnesses and injuries are linked to an increased risk for developing schizophrenia over time. Some of these illnesses and injuries include:
Brain injury, such as a concussion or other head trauma.
The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can be treated with antipsychotic medications and certain types of antidepressants. Psychotherapy is also an important part of treatment for this mental illness. Schizoaffectives usually have a better prognosis than those who have schizophrenia alone, though treatment is still necessary.
Many people with schizoaffective disorder also suffer from depression and anxiety. This makes treating the condition even more of a challenge because some antipsychotic medications can worsen these common mental illnesses.
Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder?
The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder vary from person to person. They can range from minor to severe. People with schizoaffective disorder will have mood swings that are related to their psychosis. They might have a major depressive episode or mania that is not in line with their usual behavior. A person may also experience psychosis, which can be hallucinations and/or delusions.
Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include:
– Mood swings from depression to elevated mood (mania)
– Hallucinations when psychotic
– Delusions when psychotic
Some of the psychotic symptoms associated with the schizoaffective disorder include:
– Paranoia and fear that’s not based in reality
– False beliefs (delusions) when psychotic, such as thinking you are being targeted by a harmful entity or person. This may result in self-harm to “protect” yourself from these delusions.
– Seeing or hearing things that don’t exist, such as seeing a person who is not there.
– Strange physical sensations due to delusions (like feeling bugs crawling on your skin)
– Disorganized speech and behavior when psychotic
– Difficulty connecting with reality in general if the psychosis becomes severe enough.
These psychotic symptoms can also be associated with other mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The main difference between schizoaffective disorder psychosis and these disorders is that the moods in schizoaffective disorder shift to match whatever delusions or hallucinations a patient may have at the time.
- Sad mood or
- feelings of emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable, such as sex or hobbies. This can also include feeling empty and uninterested in friends and family members.
- Changes in appetite – either loss of appetite leading to weight loss or increase resulting in unwanted weight gain. It may become difficult for a person with the schizoaffective disorder to focus on anything, including eating.
- Agitation and
- Racing thoughts and ideas, such as jumping quickly from one idea to the next or having a lack of attention to tasks that need completing . It may become difficult for a person with schizoaffective disorder to focus on anything, including eating.
- Difficulty sleeping through the night without waking up and feeling unable to fall back.
Schizoaffective disorder diagnosis?
If someone is displaying both schizophrenia and a mood disorder, see a doctor. They may be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
It’s important to note that a person might not fit neatly into one category or another, and symptoms can shift over time. It is possible for someone to have both schizophrenia and bipolar at the same time (or more than one mood disorder). This means they will likely experience mixed states where they might feel very depressed and anxious at the same time as feeling highly energetic.
A person with schizoaffective disorder may be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression if they do not meet all of the criteria for each condition .
While it’s important to know that a doctor will make this diagnosis after ruling out other conditions, you can do some self-reflection to see if this sounds like what you are experiencing.
Someone with schizoaffective disorder might experience symptoms of psychosis, depression and mania at the same time (called a mixed state). They may also experience more than one mood swing within one episode.
How is schizoaffective disorder treated?
Schizoaffective patients are often prescribed antipsychotic medication to reduce the symptoms caused by schizophrenia. Mood stabilizers are also used for bipolar or depressive symptoms if present. If these medicines do not help relieve symptoms, antidepressants may be tried. Therapy can be very helpful for identifying triggers that might make symptoms worse, coping skills to manage stressors/symptoms when they arise, activities that promote connection with others and support groups where people share similar experiences.
What are some ways you can support someone with schizoaffective disorder?
It’s important to remember that a person with schizoaffective disorder is not dangerous. They may be in a state of psychosis and unable to communicate clearly, but this does not mean they are going to hurt anyone .
You can provide support for someone with schizoaffective disorder by keeping them safe – making sure they take their medications as prescribed and don’t skip appointments with the doctor or therapist.
Conclusion: If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, there’s help. Contact one of our doctors today to learn more about the diagnosis and treatment options available. You can also visit our website for further information on this mental illness that affects millions around the world every year. With awareness comes understanding, so please share your knowledge with others by sharing this blog post!