A condition in which an individual experiences symptoms of schizophrenia as well as mood disorder.
Schizoaffective disorder is a condition in which an individual experiences symptoms of schizophrenia (such as hallucinations) as well as symptoms of a mood disorder (mania or depression). Untreated Schizoaffective disorder can greatly affect the ability to function in all aspects of life and relationships. There are two types of schizoaffective disorder:
The bipolar type includes episodes of manic and depression.
The depressive type which includes only episodes of depression.
Schizoaffective disorder can cause the following symptoms:
- Hallucinations: hearing or seeing things that are not there
- Delusions: believing something that is completely contrary to facts
- Incoherent speech
- Unusual behavior
- Depression symptoms: feeling sad and worthless
- Periods of manic mood with increased energy and out of character behaviors
- Impaired functioning in work and social situations
Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder
The exact cause of schizoaffective disorder is unknown but research shows genetics is largely a factor. Additional risk factors include:
- Taking mind-altering drugs
- Having a close family member who has had schizoaffective disorder
- Experiencing a life-altering stressful event
Doctors typically utilize a combination of the following three treatment methods to address Schizoaffective disorder:
- Prescription Medications such as antipsychotics, mood-stabilizing medications, and antidepressants
- Psychotherapy can be used to help normalize thought patterns and may incorporate family members as well to address coping with symptoms
- Life Skills Training which may include social skills training and/or vocational training to increase functional involvement in all areas of life