by Pamela Jones, MA
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health condition that has symptoms of a mood disorder and psychosis. It is a disorder that has some symptoms similar to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but is considered a separate disorder.
It is not clear what causes schizoaffective disorder. Some factors that may play a role in schizoaffective disorder include:
These changes in the brain and chemicals may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Schizoaffective disorder is more common in women than men.
A family history of mental illness may also increase the risk of schizoaffective disorder.
Symptoms may vary depending on age or gender. For example:
Depressive symptoms can include:
Manic symptoms may include:
Psychotic symptoms may include:
These symptoms can also lead to difficulty carrying out basic self-care and hygiene tasks, cause problems creating or keeping personal relationships, and holding a job.
A diagnosis is made according to the health history and symptoms that you and those around you report to the doctor. Certain features and symptoms will help your doctor identify schizoaffective disorder from other similar conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
You may be referred to a specialist for diagnosis.
Treatment for schizoaffective disorder is focused on managing symptoms and preventing a worsening of symptoms. Most treatments include a combination of medication, counseling, and lifestyle changes.
Consistent contact with your healthcare team is important to keep treatment on track, address exacerbation, and improve quality of life.
Medication may help to manage symptoms. The exact type of medication will depend on your symptoms but may include one or more of the following types of medication:
Medication needs may change. Regular contact with your medical team can help identify when these changes may be needed.
There are a variety of counseling options to help manage symptoms and the effects of this disorder. Some therapy options include:
Lifestyle changes can help cope with challenges of a mental condition and decrease worsening of symptoms. Lifestyle changes may include:
There are no current guidelines to prevent schizoaffective disorder because the cause is not known.
National Institute of Mental Health
National Mental Health Association
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Beddoe AE, Pravikoff D. Schizoaffective disorder. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at:
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Updated January 10, 2014. Accessed October 4, 2017.
Schizoaffective disorder. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated June 25, 2015. Accessed October 4, 2017.
Schizoaffective disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness website. Available at: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Schizoaffective-Disorder. Accessed October 4, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 4/7/2015
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