Schizoaffective Disorder

admin December 4, 2019

Schizoaffective Disorder

A Brief Introduction to Clinical Schizoaffective Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disordersfifth edition, Schizoaffective Disorder pertains to a mental illness wherein the individual displays features of schizophrenia concurrent with either a Major Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Disorder. The affectivepart of the name refers to the simultaneous display of symptoms of the mood disorder of either Bipolar or Depression. When a person is diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, either Bipolar type or Depressive type will be specified to indicate which mood disorder is experienced. If Bipolar is specified the individual may experience just the manic episode, or both episodes of mania and depression. Schizoaffective Disorder is often misdiagnosed because it shares properties of multiple disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Clinical Schizoaffective Disorder

  • Symptoms of Schizophrenia: The experience of two of these symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized motor movements/catatonia, or negative symptoms (reduced emoting); and at least one of these symptoms must be either delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech; and these symptoms must be significantly present for most of the time during a one-month period
  • Simultaneously, symptoms of a Major Depressive Episode (for a more complete overview of Major Depressive Disorder, click here)or a Manic Episode (for a more complete overview of Bipolar I and Bipolar II click here)
    • Major Depressive Episode: the individual will experience five or more of the following symptoms for two weeks and at least one symptom will be depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure, and the symptoms experienced will markedly negatively impact functioning in social, educational, occupational, or other areas, and the mood disturbance is not attributable to substance use, medication, or another medical condition.
      • A depressed mood for most of the day, nearly every day
      • A reduced interest or pleasure 
      • Marked increase or decrease in weight or appetite
      • Marked increase or decrease in sleep
      • Marked increase or decrease in psychomotor activity
      • Increase in fatigue or loss of energy
      • Feelings of worthlessness
      • Reduction in cognitions, concentration, or decisiveness
      • Increased thoughts of death or suicide
    • Manic Episode: the individual will experience an irritable or heightened or inflated mood with a substantial and unusual amount of goal-directed energy for at least a week, most of the day, nearly every day; the episode of mania will significantly and negatively impact functioning in the areas of social, educational, occupational, or other areas; the episode will not be the result of substance use, prescribed medications, or another medical condition; and, three or more of the following symptoms will be met, with four or more symptoms met if the primary mood emotion is irritability:
      • Increased self-concept to the point of grandiosity
      • Reduction in the need for sleep
      • Pressured speech or excessively talkative
      • Racing thoughts or “flight of ideas,” meaning, the individual feels a cross current of several competing ideas at once
      • Being easily distracted by inconsequential stimuli
      • Pronounced psychomotor activity or goal-driven activity (socially, academically, or sexually)
      • Involvement in high risk activities (such as financial risk or sexual risk)
  • Additionally, two or more weeks of delusions or hallucinations without the presence of depression or mania
  • Additionally, symptoms of a major depressive episode or mania during the residual phase of the disorder
  • The symptoms cannot be attributed to substance use, prescribed medication, or a medical condition
Some Differences Between Clinical Schizoaffective Disorder and Clinical Schizophrenia 
  • With Schizophrenia, occupational functioning is always affected, however, with Schizoaffective Disorder, occupational functioning is not a decided factor for diagnosis.
  • With Schizophrenia, the negative symptoms are more severe than in individuals diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder.
  • With Schizophrenia, the patients lack of insight into their behaviors, thoughts, and mannerisms is more pronounced than in those with Schizoaffective Disorder.
Some Differences Between Clinical Schizoaffective Disorder and Clinical Schizophrenia with Bipolar or Depressive Features
  • Schizoaffective Disorder is the condition wherein the client exhibits defining traits of Schizophrenia while simultaneously exhibiting conditions of Bipolar (mania only, or mania with hypomania and major depressive episodes, or just hypomania and major depressive episodes), or at least one Major Depressive Episode. The key is these conditions occur concurrently. 
  • Schizophrenia with Bipolar or Depressive features indicates that the individual’s primary diagnosis is Schizophrenia and they have met full clinical criterion for this condition; additionally, this client will experience episodes of Bipolar (mania only, or mania with hypomania and major depressive episodes, or just hypomania and major depressive episodes), or this client will experience major depressive episodes. 
Additional Facts About Clinical Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Schizoaffective Disorder occurs in one-third as many cases of Schizophrenia.
  • Schizoaffective Disorder effects men and women equally as opposed to Schizophrenia which effects 25% more men than women. 

Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment at Silicon Beach Treatment Center 

At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, our task when treating any area of client suffering is to identify the nature of your experience with it, explore the underlying causes, and work together to usher in resiliency, foster a more hopeful outlook, and restore equilibrium. Our caring, trained professionals will work diligently to bring you the support, interventions, and treatment you need.

General Disclaimer:

Please note, the information on this page is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, however, it is in no way exhaustive on the subject of each disorder discussed. This text is not intended to be the basis of self-diagnosis of any disorder. Only a trained mental health provider can provide you with an accurate diagnosis based on a myriad of factors and details specific to your particular case. 

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