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. Schizoaffective disorder can be managed effectively with medication and therapy. 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. Signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may include, among others: Delusions having false, fixed beliefs Hallucinations, such as hearing voices Major depressed mood episodes Possible periods of manic mood or a sudden increase in energy and behavioral displays that are out of character Impaired occupational and social functioning Problems with cleanliness and physical appearance Paranoid thoughts and ideas.
Schizoaffective disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it has symptoms of both schizophrenia and either depression or bipolar disorder. 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. The abuse of drugs or a medication are not responsible for the symptoms. 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.