What is Schizoaffective Disorder?
You may be wondering what is schizoaffective disorder? Maybe you’ve never even heard of it before. Schizoaffective disorder is a somewhat rare disorder that affects 0.3% of the population. That’s about 1 in 333 people, so it’s not something that is all that well known.
Schizoaffective disorder is sometimes considered a category of schizophrenia, but other times it’s considered it’s own disorder. It is a disease that is characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia and symptoms of a mood disorder. The mood disorders can either be depression or bipolar disorder. As a result, there are two types of schizoaffective disorder:
- Schizoaffective bipolar subtype
- Schizoaffective depressive subtype
Each of these subtypes has it’s own unique symptoms.
Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder
The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder consist of schizophrenia symptoms which include:
- Delusions – believing things are true when the evidence shows that they are false. Examples include believing you have already died or that aliens have abducted you.
- Hallucinations – Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or feeling things that aren’t real. This could include hallucinating that you are infested with parasites or hearing voices.
- Disorganized Thinking – such as broken thoughts, a sudden halt in thinking and being unable to be understood by others to the point it impairs daily functioning.
- Verbal issues – possibly repeating the last word of other people’s sentences or answering questions that others ask with off topic answers.
- Odd behavior – this could be wearing winter clothes in the summer while it’s hot or wearing summer clothes in the winter while it’s freezing. Other odd behavior may include laughing while sad or crying while happy. This is called inappropriate emotional responses.
- Lack of impulse control – acting out without being able to control it.
The other symptoms of schizoaffective are of the mood disorder subtypes. If you have the depressive subtype which is the most common, then you may experience:
- Low, depressed mood – such as sadness, hopelessness or grief.
- Fatigue – feeling tired.
- Restlessness and insomnia– inability to sit still or sleep.
- Psychomotor agitation – inability to sit still including pacing back and forth, rocking, spinning, tapping one’s feet, tapping fingers, clinching one’s fist repeatedly or even punching the air.
- Suicidal thoughts
- Self harm
- Rarely violence
I’m diagnosed with this disorder. With the bipolar subtype, you will experience depression symptoms but will also experience periods of mania. Mania symptoms are:
- Psychomotor agitation
- Restlessness and insomnia
- Racing thoughts
- High self esteem
- Improved mood – including happiness, joy, and optimism.
- Reckless decisions – including gambling, speeding, reckless spending and investing into a business impulsively.
- Impulse control – acting on impulse.
- High productivity – this could be writing 10,000 words a day, or cleaning your whole house top to bottom while previously not cleaning it.
With the bipolar subtype, you may experience mixed moods where you can experience a different combination of all these symptoms. You may experience all of them or only a few.
To Get Diagnosed and Treatment
To get diagnosed, you must see a psychiatrist or another mental health professional. The mental health professional will make sure your issues are not the result of drug misuse or another mental illness.
Treatment for schizoaffective disorder includes medication and therapy.
If you think you have or actually have this disorder, make sure to see or continue seeing a mental health professional about it. You can feel free to comment in the comment section below. I’d like to hear what other people think about this disorder.
Remember that this is a severe mental illness. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s just all in your head or that you can just get over it through a healthy diet. This is a real disease and you deserve respect.