Liberty Psychological Association

An Overview of the Disorder:

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health illness or disorder which is a combination of schizophrenia symptoms, like mood disorder, hallucinations or delusions, and, depression or mania.

There are 2 types of schizoaffective disorder, both may include some symptoms of schizophrenia.

  • Bipolar type of schizoaffective disorder which includes symptoms of mania and at times major depression.
  • Depressive type of schizoaffective disorder, which has only one major depressive symptoms.

Schizoaffective disorder may be different in each affected person.

Untreated schizoaffective disorder may lead to issues like: functioning at work, at school and in social situations, causing feelings of isolation and trouble holding down work or keeping up with school. People affected with schizoaffective disorder may need help and support with every day functioning. Talk therapy can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life of the affected person.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder:

Schizoaffective disorder symptoms may vary in different people. Individuals with this condition may experience psychotic symptoms, mood disorder, such as hallucinations or delusions. The bipolar type which has episodes of mania and sometimes feeling depressed or depressive type that has episodes of depression.

Although the development and the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may be different, major features may include a major mood episode that is depression or manic mood and at least a 2 week periods of psychotic symptoms when there is not a major mood episode present.

Symptoms and signs of schizoaffective disorder may depend on the type of disorder:

Bipolar or the depressive type and may also include, among other things:

  • Delusions: having false, fixed beliefs, without evidence to proof it.
  • Hallucinations: such as hearing voices, feeling things on their body, smelling things, or seeing things that do not exist.
  • Impaired communication: and speech, like being incoherent.
  • Bizarre: or unusual behavior and actions.
  • Symptoms of depression: like feeling empty, hopeless, sad or worthless.
  • Periods of manic mood: with more energy and not needing much sleep for many days, and behaviors that are not normal for the affected person.
  • Impaired occupational: falling grades in school and decreased social functioning.
  • Problems with managing personal care: bad personal hygiene, not showering and shabby physical appearance.

When to get help:

If one thinks someone they know may have schizoaffective disorder symptoms, they should talk to that affected person about their symptoms. Although one may not force another to get professional help, one can offer advice and support for them to get help and find a qualified medical doctor or mental health specialist.

If a loved one can’t provide: food for him or her self, shelter, clothing or if their safety is a concern, one should call 9-1-1 or activate emergency services for assistance, so the person in question can be evaluated by a mental health specialist.

Suicidal Thoughts, Attempts or Behavior:

If a schizoaffective disorder person is Talking about suicide or exhibiting suicidal behavior they need to get help right away. If a loved has attempted suicide or has made a suicide plan, one needs to make sure someone stays with the suicidal person, and then they should Call 9-1-1 immediately or their local emergency services telephone number right away. Or, if possible one should safely, take the suicidal person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder:

The actual causes of schizoaffective disorder are still being researched, but genetics could be a major factor.

Risk Factors of Schizoaffective Disorder:

Factors that may increase the chances of developing schizoaffective disorder may include:

  • Having a close blood relative: such as a father, mother or a sibling with schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
  • Stressful occurrences that may trigger schizoaffective disorder symptoms.
  • Using and abusing mind-altering drugs, alcohol abuse which will worsen symptoms of schizoaffective disorder when an underlying disorder already exist.

Complications of Schizoaffective Disorder:

People suffering from schizoaffective disorder are also at an increased risk of:

  • Suicide, suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts.
  • Social isolation, loneliness.
  • Family issues and interpersonal problems.
  • Unemployment, job loss or not being able to get hired.
  • Anxiety disorders and nervousness.
  • Alcohol or drugs and other substance use and abuse problems.
  • Significant health and medical problems.
  • Homelessness, and poverty.

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