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woman at a schizoaffective disorder treatment programSchizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental condition characterized primarily by schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, alongside mood disorder symptoms, such as mania and depression. The prefix “schizo” refers to the psychotic effects of schizophrenia that affect a person’s thinking, self-awareness, and perceptions. The suffix “affective” refers to extreme mood fluctuations, changes in energy, and changes in behavior. If you are concerned that someone you love is experiencing schizoaffective disorder, please contact Harmony Hills by calling 855.494.0357.

Treatment for Schizoaffective Disorder 

Schizoaffective disorder is easy to misdiagnose because its symptoms are similar to those exhibited during bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Less research has been conducted on schizoaffective disorder than on schizophrenia and bipolar, but the clinicians at Harmony Hills offer the most modern, community-centered, holistic therapies available.

Schizoaffective Disorder and Co-occurring Disorders

Schizoaffective is on the rare side of the psychological disorder spectrum. Men and women experience schizoaffective disorder at similar rates; however, men tend to develop the illness–and show symptoms– at an earlier age. Schizoaffective disorder can be managed effectively with adjusted medication and psychotherapy. Co-occurring substance use disorders are a frequent and serious risk for people with schizoaffective disorder. Individuals with schizoaffective disorder require integrated treatment options and therapy at a mental health treatment center.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are often severe. The following are a few of the most common symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:

  • Delusions: False, fixed beliefs that are held regardless of contradictory evidence
  • Extreme hallucination: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Disorganized thinking: Moving from topic to topic, providing answers that are unrelated to the questions
  • Depressed mood: Feelings of intense sadness, emptiness, and worthlessness 
  • Manic behavior: Feelings of euphoria, racing thoughts, increased risky behavior, and other symptoms of mania

Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder

Doctors still don’t know exactly what causes schizoaffective disorder. A combination of genetic and environmental factors may increase the likelihood of developing schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder often runs in families. Just because a relative develops schizoaffective disorder doesn’t mean their children will also have the disorder, but it increases the likelihood.

Schizoaffective Disorder Diagnosis

Schizoaffective disorder is often difficult to diagnose; a person suffering from schizoaffective disorder shows schizophrenia symptoms combined with symptoms of either depression or bipolar disorder. There are two main types of schizoaffective disorder: depressive type and bipolar type. In order to be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a person must show the following symptoms:

  • Severe mood disorder–either depression or mania–that occurs at the same time as symptoms of schizophrenia 
  • Hallucinations and delusions for at least two weeks in the absence of a major mood episode
  • Symptoms that meet the criteria for a major mood episode are present for most of the illness’s total duration.
  • Symptoms are not caused by drugs or side-effects

Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment at Harmony Hills

A combination of mental health treatment therapies is the best approach to treating Schizoaffective disorder. Every client is different and has their own set of needs. Schizoaffective disorder is managed in several ways:

  • Medications: Medications for schizoaffective disorder include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy practices such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and small-group therapy are used to treat schizoaffective disorder. 

Other Conditions Related to Schizoaffective Disorder

People with schizoaffective disorder may have additional mental health conditions:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Co-occurring substance use disorder 
  • Moderate to severe depression

Schizoaffective is Treatable in the Right Setting

If you are concerned that a loved one is showing schizoaffective disorder symptoms, it might be tempting to try to diagnose them. The best thing you can do for a person who shows schizoaffective disorder symptoms is to refer them to an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. Contact Harmony Hills by calling 855.494.0357 to learn more.