Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder (SAD) is a mental health condition characterized by mood and psychotic symptoms that do not meet the diagnostic criteria for a mood disorder or schizophrenia individually.

Prevalence

SAD affects less than 1% of the general population at some point during their lives, and the onset of symptoms is usually between 16 and 30 years of age. It is more common in females than males; however, this is because of the high proportion of females in the depressive subcategory, whereas the bipolar subtype affects men and women equally.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective disorder:

Mood symptoms can be:

  • Manic – such as an elevated mood
  • Grandiosity – such as inflated self-esteem
  • Agitation
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Depressive thoughts – such as apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt

Psychotic symptoms can be both:

  • Positive: hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech
  • Negative:

    • Alogia – lack of spontaneous speech
    • Avolition – loss of motivation
    • Anhedonia – inability to experience pleasure

Mood symptoms in SAD tend to be episodic rather than continuous.

Diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder:

Two episodes of psychosis are required for a diagnosis of SAD to be made. Specifically:

  • One of the episodes of psychosis must last a minimum of two weeks without mood disorder symptoms.
  • The other period of psychosis requires the combo of mood disorder and psychotic symptoms to be obvious and last for a greater portion of the disorder.

Types of Schizoaffective Disorder:

There are two types of schizoaffective disorder:

  • 1 – Bipolar type, characterized by symptoms of mania, hypomania, or a mixed episode
  • 2 – Depressive type, characterized by symptoms of depression only

There is often a lot of confusion between SAD, psychotic mood disorder, schizophrenia, and schizophreniform disorder.

  • Psychotic mood disorder – is diagnosed when psychotic symptoms are confined to an episode of mania or depression (with or without mixed features), namely either psychotic bipolar disorder or psychotic major depression.
  • SAD, schizophreniform disorder, or schizophrenia – is only diagnosed when psychotic states persist for a protracted period of two weeks or longer without coexistent mood symptoms.

Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder:

The exact cause of SAD remains unknown; however, it has been suggested that biological and environmental factors interact with a person’s genes in a manner which may increase the risk of developing this condition. There is evidence to suggest a genetic link between SAD, schizophrenia, and psychotic mood disorders.

Schizoaffective Disorder complications:

The complications of SAD include impairment in social, occupational, academic, and relational functioning and increased risk of suicidal behavior. SAD often coexists with other conditions such as anxiety disorders and substance use disorders.

Treatment of Schizoaffective Disorder:

The treatment of SAD includes:

  • Talking therapy – such as family therapy
  • Medication – antipsychotics such as Olanzapine and mood stabilizers such as anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).
  • Admission – When there is a risk to self and/or others, hospitalization may be necessary.
  • Rehab – Psychiatric and occupational rehabilitation help to promote recovery of mental and social functioning in people with this chronic condition.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective disorder:

Mood symptoms can be:

  • Manic – such as an elevated mood
  • Grandiosity – such as inflated self-esteem
  • Agitation
  • Rapid speech
  • Racing thoughts
  • Depressive thoughts – such as apathy
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt

Psychotic symptoms can be both:

  • Positive: hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech
  • Negative:

    • Alogia – lack of spontaneous speech
    • Avolition – loss of motivation
    • Anhedonia – inability to experience pleasure

Mood symptoms in SAD tend to be episodic rather than continuous.

Diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder:

Two episodes of psychosis are required for a diagnosis of SAD to be made. Specifically:

  • One of the episodes of psychosis must last a minimum of two weeks without mood disorder symptoms.
  • The other period of psychosis requires the combo of mood disorder and psychotic symptoms to be obvious and last for a greater portion of the disorder.

Types of Schizoaffective Disorder:

There are two types of schizoaffective disorder:

  • 1 – Bipolar type, characterized by symptoms of mania, hypomania, or a mixed episode
  • 2 – Depressive type, characterized by symptoms of depression only

There is often a lot of confusion between SAD, psychotic mood disorder, schizophrenia, and schizophreniform disorder.

  • Psychotic mood disorder – is diagnosed when psychotic symptoms are confined to an episode of mania or depression (with or without mixed features), namely either psychotic bipolar disorder or psychotic major depression.
  • SAD, schizophreniform disorder, or schizophrenia – is only diagnosed when psychotic states persist for a protracted period of two weeks or longer without coexistent mood symptoms.

Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder:

The exact cause of SAD remains unknown; however, it has been suggested that biological and environmental factors interact with a person’s genes in a manner which may increase the risk of developing this condition. There is evidence to suggest a genetic link between SAD, schizophrenia, and psychotic mood disorders.

Schizoaffective Disorder complications:

The complications of SAD include impairment in social, occupational, academic, and relational functioning and increased risk of suicidal behavior. SAD often coexists with other conditions such as anxiety disorders and substance use disorders.

Treatment for Schizoaffective Disorder:

The treatment of SAD includes:

  • Talking therapy – such as family therapy
  • Medication – antipsychotics such as Olanzapine and mood stabilizers such as anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs).
  • Admission – When there is a risk to self and/or others, hospitalization may be necessary.
  • Rehab – Psychiatric and occupational rehabilitation help to promote recovery of mental and social functioning in people with this chronic condition.