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Schizoaffective Disorder

What is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental disorder that affects about 1 in 100 people. People who suffer from this disorder experience a mix of schizophrenic symptoms as well as symptoms of a mood disorder, usually bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder. Because of this, there are two types of schizoaffective disorder; bipolar type schizoaffective and depressive type schizoaffective. This disorder is not very well understood nor defined because of how uniquely it manifests in each individual case. People with schizoaffective disorder are at an increased risk of developing schizophrenia or substance abuse disorders. They are also at increased risks of having depression or bipolar disorder, as well as committing or attempting suicide.

This disorder is not well defined or understood compared with other mental health conditions. This is due to schizoaffective disorder being a mix of different mental health symptoms, which are all unique in each person afflicted with this disorder.
are also at increased risks of having depression or bipolar disorder, as well as committing or attempting suicide.

What are the Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder?

The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder will vary from person to person.

Some Common Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder Include:

  • Mood disturbances
  • Depression
  • Manic states
  • Isolation
  • Avoidance
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Unclear/Confused thoughts
  • Bouts of depression
  • Strange perceptions or thoughts
  • Suicidal/homicidal ideation
  • Poor temper control
  • Irritability
  • Poor hygiene/physical appearance
  • Linguistic style that is not understandable or cannot be followed
  • Catatonic behavior
  • Hyperactive states
  • Memory/attention problems
  • Appetite changes

When Is It Appropriate to Contact a Doctor?

If you believe someone you know is suffering from schizoaffective disorder, it is important to talk to him/her regarding your concerns. It is important to note that, while it is unethical and illegal to force someone to seek help, you can offer support and love for the person in question and encourage him/her to reach a qualified doctor or mental health provider.

It is important that you contact a doctor or mental health provider immediately if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, or if you even suspect someone of contemplating suicide. Suicidal ideation is very common amongst those suffering from schizoaffective disorder.

What are the Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder?

There is no certain, single cause of schizoaffective disorder. Like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder appears to have distinct genetic links. This may involve brain chemistry, and neurotransmitter imbalances, particularly in regard to mood controlling neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Environmental factors, such as in-utero exposure to toxins or viral illnesses, as well as birth complications may also play a role. Individuals are also at a raised risk if they have family member(s) with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or a mood disorder.

What are the Risks Involved with Schizoaffective Disorder?

It is also thought that people suffering from schizoaffective disorder are at an increased risk of developing other mental health issues such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or alcohol issues, and suicide.

What to Do If You or Someone You Know Is Suffering from Schizoaffective Disorder?

Some things to do before you seek help for schizoaffective disorder are writing down your symptoms, keeping personal information handy, writing down any medications or supplements you are taking, and writing down questions to ask your doctor.

What Is the Treatment for Schizoaffective Disorder?

People who suffer from this disorder are thought at this time to respond best to a combination of medications and counseling. The treatment will vary based on the symptoms. Some medications used to treat this disorder include antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. Some other approaches are psychotherapy and family/group therapy.

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