Schizoaffective disorder symptoms look like a mixture of two kinds of major mental illnesses that are usually thought to run in different families, involve different brain mechanisms, develop in different ways, and respond to different treatments: mood (affective) disorders and schizophrenia. 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. Co-occurring substance use disorders are a serious risk and require integrated treatment.
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. The course of schizoaffective disorder usually features cycles of severe symptoms followed by a period of improvement, with less severe symptoms. The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can be severe and need to be monitored closely.
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 type and depressive type. 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.