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Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

June 16, 2013

Mental illness is a fragile subject. Many people who struggle with these types of disorders are aware of their psychoses. While in times of clear thought, individuals may seem rational and even normal, they can experience rapid changes in behaviours, speech patterns, and thought processes.


This is certainly the case with schizoaffective disorder. Combining aspects of mental illness and mood disorders creates challenges inside the minds of those who have this diagnosis. In addition, with outward displays of these internal battles, some individuals with schizoaffective disorder can interrupt the environments they are in and those around them too.

However, each person with this diagnosis manifests unique symptoms. For this reason, physicians, psychiatrists, and behavioural health professionals or psychologists ought to be involved in creating individual treatment plans.

Signs Schizoaffective Disorder

In most cases, the disorder operates in cycles. As is the case with other mood disorders, like bipolar, it is common for people with schizoaffective disorder to experience severe episodes followed by seasons of improvement. In fact, for some people, schizoaffective disorder is a combination of psychosis and bipolar, which may be helpful in understanding how drastic mood disturbances are for those with this diagnosis.

Symptoms for Schizoaffective Disorder

There are three general categories that are useful in recognizing this type of mental illness.

Daily Function

– Changes in appetite
– Lack of concern with hygiene
– Difficulty sleeping
– Poor concentration

Mood Disorders

 – Sadness/hopelessness
– Social isolation
– Depression and irritability
– Extremely good mood

Psychosis/ Abnormal Thoughts

– Delusions
– Paranoia
– Rapid speech
– False beliefs

Diagnosing Schizoaffective Disorder

Diagnosing schizoaffective disorder is challenging because of the broad range of symptoms. Also, because this mental health disorder combines psychosis and mood disturbances, it is common for people to receive misdiagnoses.

Identifying with any number of these symptoms from each of the categories listed above may be reason enough to speak to a medical professional about the possibility of a mental health issue, mood disorder, or combination of the two.

When speaking with a professional, it is important to recognize if there is a rapid pace of shifting between symptoms. Experiencing many opposing symptoms quickly points to the presence of a mood disorder. Even if an individual feels good at certain times, this could still be a symptom that can help doctors make an accurate diagnosis.

With a simple mental health screening and behavioural assessment if can be possible to begin the journey of treatment. Combining medicine and psychotherapy may be the key to easing the effects of the combination disorder known as schizoaffective.




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