Schizoaffective disorder is a relatively rare chronic mental health disorder affecting less than one percent of the population. Those affected exhibit symptoms similar to schizophrenia (hallucinations and delusions) and bipolar disorder (mania and depression), though not necessarily at the same time. Because of this, individuals suffering from schizoaffective disorder are often initially misdiagnosed and improperly treated.
Untreated schizoaffective disorder can lead to significant impairments in daily functioning. If you or a loved one has been accurately diagnosed, the schizoaffective disorder treatment program at Harmony Hills can provide the most current individualized, holistic therapies available. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to learn more about our program.
Diagnosing Schizoaffective Disorder
As with most mental health conditions, the exact cause of schizoaffective disorder is unknown. Genetics, brain structure, biology, and environmental influences all appear to be factors. The onset of schizoaffective disorder ranges from late adolescence through early adulthood. There are two types of schizoaffective disorder:
- Depressive type – experiencing schizophrenia symptoms with episodes of major depressive disorder
- Bipolar type – experiencing schizophrenia symptoms with episodes of major depression and mania
Proper diagnosis involves ruling out other mental health conditions, which can be difficult because schizoaffective disorder shares bipolar disorder and schizophrenia symptoms. Because not all symptoms are present simultaneously, it can take several sessions with a psychiatrist to diagnose schizoaffective disorder. A physical exam, tests such as MRI or CT scan, drug screening, and a psychological evaluation are all part of the diagnostic process. Following are the criteria for a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder:
- Hallucinations or delusions for at least two weeks, without symptoms of a major mood episode
- Presence of a major mood episode, manic or depressive, in conjunction with symptoms of schizophrenia
- Symptoms of a major mood episode occur for a majority of the extent of the illness
- Symptoms are not the result of drug abuse
Recognizing the Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder
The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder will vary from person to person and depending on whether the individual has a bipolar type or depressive type. Commonly, individuals experience cycles of severe symptoms followed by periods of improvement. Symptoms may include:
- Hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that are not real
- Delusions – fixed, false beliefs despite evidence to the contrary
- Impaired speech and communication or incoherence
- Manic episodes or depressive episodes
- Bizarre or unusual behaviors
- Impaired social, academic, or occupational functioning
- Impaired ability to manage personal care
Finding a Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment Program
People who suffer from schizoaffective disorder are at higher risk for suicide and developing a co-occurring substance use disorder, especially when left untreated. Other complications include family discord, health problems, unemployment, anxiety, interpersonal conflicts, and social isolation. Proper care from a schizoaffective treatment program is critical to ensure a person’s safety and wellbeing.
Treatment for schizoaffective disorder varies according to individual needs and the type and severity of symptoms. At Harmony Hills, we understand that everyone is different, and we ensure that each of our clients has an individualized treatment plan designed to meet their unique needs. We know that schizoaffective disorder is best treated with a combination of therapies that include medication management, psychotherapy, and life skills training. Some of the mental health treatment therapies we offer include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- EMDR therapy
There is no cure for schizoaffective disorder, but with appropriate treatment, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms for the long term, to be able to work, have healthy relationships, and lead happy and meaningful lives.
Contact Harmony Hills to Learn More About Our Schizoaffective Treatment Program
At Harmony Hills, we provide state-of-the-art, evidence-based, holistic treatment for individuals and their families affected by schizoaffective disorder, along with a wide array of amenities to enhance the process of recovery. To learn more about our schizoaffective disorder treatment program, call us at 855.494.0357.