What is it?

Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression.

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Schizoaffective Disorder (SZA, SZD or SAD).

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Chronic Schizoaffective Disorder

Signs & symptoms

The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can be severe and need to be monitored. Depending on the type of mood disorder diagnosed, depression or bipolar disorder, people will experience different symptoms:
- Hallucinations- seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.
- Delusions- false, fixed beliefs that are held regardless of contradictory evidence.
- Disorganized thinking- A person may switch very quickly from one topic to another or provide answers that are completely unrelated.
- Depressed mood- If a person has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder depressive type they will experience feelings of sadness, emptiness, feelings of worthlessness or other symptoms of depression.
- Manic behavior- If a person has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type they will experience feelings of euphoria, racing thoughts, increased risky behavior and other symptoms of mania.

Diagnosis

Schizoaffective disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it has symptoms of both schizophrenia and either depression or bipolar disorder. There are two major types of schizoaffective disorder: bipolar and depressive, in order to be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder a person must have the following symptoms.
- A period during which there is a major mood disorder, either depression or mania, that occurs at the same time that symptoms of schizophrenia are present.
- Delusions or hallucinations for two or more weeks in the absence of a major mood episode.
- Symptoms that meet criteria for a major mood episode are present for the majority of the total duration of the illness.
- The abuse of drugs or a medication are not responsible for the symptoms

Treatment

Schizoaffective disorder is treated and managed in several ways:
- Medications: including mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications and antidepressants
- Psychotherapy: such as cognitive behavioral therapy or family-focused therapy
- Self-management strategies and education

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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