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. Schizoaffective disorder is seen in about 0.3% of the population. Men and women experience schizoaffective disorder at the same rate, but men often develop the illness at an earlier age. Schizoaffective disorder can be managed effectively with medication and therapy. Co-occurring substance use disorders are a serious risk and require integrated treatment.
Depending on the type of mood disorder diagnosed, depression or bipolar disorder, people will experience different symptoms: Hallucinations, which are seeing or hearing things that aren’t there. Schizoaffective disorder symptoms vary from person to person. People who have the condition experience psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions as well as a mood disorder. The mood disorder is either bipolar disorder (bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder) or depression (depressive-type schizoaffective disorder). Psychotic features and mood disturbances may occur at the same time or may appear on and off interchangeably.
Schizoaffective disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it has symptoms of both schizophrenia and either depression or bipolar disorder. 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.