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Schizoaffective Disorder and Treatment

June 18, 2013

Once symptoms are identified and a diagnosis is given, it is time to move forward. The best way to approach disability is to team up with trusted medical professionals. In the case of schizoaffective disorder, it is wise to consult both a psychiatrist and psychologist.


A psychiatrist is able to diagnose mental disorders and prescribe treatment options in the form of prescription medications. A psychologist studies behaviours that result from an individual’s thought patterns and is able to correct harmful actions by teaching positive thinking skills and coping techniques.

Like most mood disorders, a twofold treatment plan for schizoaffective disorder is very important. Individuals with this diagnosis need to balance their systems with medications, and learn about coping skills that can help them handle life stressors that may trigger psychotic episodes.

Medication for Schizoaffective Disorder

Due to the nature of schizoaffective, and how it includes both psychosis and mood issues, there is no specific medication that treats this disorder. Instead, a psychiatrist determines the exact types of mood disorders and forms of mental illness a patient suffers from, (i.e. bipolar and schizophrenia) and expertly combines an appropriate drug plan.

In many cases, antipsychotics are useful in aiding those who experience delusions, hallucinations, and other types of distorted thinking.

Mood stabilizers, on the other hand, are prescribed if the individual experiences high feelings of elation and ecstasy, as well as low periods of severe depression.

While taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications can seem like a simple solution at times, it is important to understand mixing pills without a doctor’s recommendation can be very dangerous. Since no two people are the same, and no two schizoaffective diagnoses are exact, following the advice of a trusted psychiatrist is crucial.

Psychotherapy for Schizoaffective Disorder

In addition to medical treatment, it is important for persons with schizoaffective disorder to seek regular talk therapy and/or attend support groups. Psychotherapy helps an individual understand his or her illness and learn how to cope with it best.

Talk therapy may assist people who have this diagnosis in the following ways:

– Goal setting
– Building bridges of communication with family members
– Encouraging individuals to make smart choices about their illnesses
– Regular counseling sessions enhance aspects of everyday life

For many people, even those without schizoaffective disorder, talk therapy is seen as a way of learning important life skills that enable self-sufficiency. In extreme cases of those who have combined psychoses and mood stabilization issues, staying in a full-time care facility may be beneficial or necessary.


As with all medical treatments, it is very important to be honest and open with medical professionals who are working to create and execute an individual treatment plan.

Also, even though it is important to consult both psychiatrists and psychologists before making mental health decisions, talking with other people who have schizoaffective disorder or care about someone who does, may offer great emotional support and guidance on this journey of discovery.


Let’s Talk About It

What does your treatment plan look like? Do you have a team of medical professionals who you work with?

Why is it so important to combine a prescription regimen with talk therapy? How has this benefited you or a person you care about?


*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority.  Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.

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