Schizoaffective Disorder

March 24, 2023
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  • Schizoaffective disorder is a term applied to individuals who do not fit the criteria for either schizophrenia or mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Schizoaffective disorder is relatively rare.
  • Many individuals who have been diagnosed with manic depression actually have schizoaffective disorder.
  • Because schizoaffective disorder is confusing, misdiagnosis is common.
  • Schizoaffective disorder can affect anyone of any gender, age, race, economic status, IQ, or background.
  • There are medications that can effectively treat this disorder.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Some victims of schizoaffective disorder may show symptoms of both a depressive disorder and schizophrenia simultaneously, a manic phase and schizophrenia, or they may exhibit no signs of mood symptoms yet still have symptoms of Schizophrenia. If delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, erratic behavior, thought disorder and other schizophrenic symptoms continue to be present after a client’s mood has been stabilized, schizoaffective disorder might be the appropriate diagnosis.

Diagnosis should be left up to a trained physician knowledgeable in the field of psychiatric disorders. As this disorder is extremely complex, self-diagnosis is nearly impossible. A thorough psychological examination is necessary before a client can be diagnosed as schizoaffective.

For an accurate diagnosis to be made, psychotic episodes need to be under control, which will require the intervention of a trained psychiatrist.


Schizoaffective disorder is often treated with antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Since antipsychotic medications are used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder, it might not be crucial to differentiate between the three.

Antidepressants may be prescribed if the symptoms of a mood disorder are present. As with all mental disorders, it should be left up to a trained psychiatrist to suggest the best possible treatment.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) Fourth Edition, The American Psychiatric Association, Washington D.C., Copyright 2000



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