Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health disorder that is often misdiagnosed. The disorder is actually the combination of two disorders: schizophrenia and a mood disorder. There are two types of schizoaffective based on the coexisting mood disorder. The first type is bipolar and the second is depression.
Symptoms of the disorder include hallucinations and delusions, similar to schizophrenia. People with the disorder are often misdiagnosed as having either schizophrenia or a mood disorder, like anxiety, mania, or depression – because that is how schizoaffective disorder presents itself. Oftentimes, those with schizoaffective disorder are misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder. This makes sense for two reasons. First, bipolar is a subset of schizoaffective disorder. And, number two, schizoaffective is much less common and much less studied than either schizophrenia or bipolar. In fact, when treating schizoaffective disorder, many professionals will borrow interventions from bipolar and schizophrenia. Having the disorder is extremely rare. There is a lifetime prevalence rate of only about 0.3%. It is experienced among men and women equally – no one sex is particularly at risk of developing the illness. Though, men who are diagnosed with the disorder usually get diagnosed at an earlier age. If the disorder is addressed and treatment is sought, there is a great chance the person will go on to live a normal, productive life. The disorder can be managed effectively with therapy and medication. Substance Use Disorders (SUD) are prevalent in the schizoaffective disorder community. People with schizoaffective disorder seek out drugs as a way to cope with their illness. They manage symptoms with substances. Having a dual diagnosis of substance addiction and schizoaffective is pretty common.
Symptoms of this disorder should be monitored closely because the symptoms of this disorder are often severe. Because there are two mood disorders schizoaffective is based on, the symptoms below mimic depression and bipolar. Also, these are symptoms you’ll see in people with schizophrenia.
We don’t know what causes the disorder, but it is thought that a combination of causes come into play. They are as follows.
Because the symptoms of this disorder mimic schizophrenia and bipolar or depression, it is very important to get an accurate diagnosis. Work with a trained professional to determine what your specific symptoms mean.
The disorder is treated in a few different ways. They are as follows: