Schizoaffective disorder is another name for schizophrenia. However, they are two distinct mental health disorders that can have significant consequences for those affected, especially when left untreated. Both are defined as psychotic disorders and do have some similarities and common symptoms. However, understanding the differences between the two is critical for effective treatment.
Of course, only medical and mental health professionals trained in diagnosing mental illnesses can provide a proper diagnosis. Unfortunately, getting an accurate diagnosis can be frustrating and challenging. Schizoaffective disorder has similar symptoms to schizophrenia and depression or bipolar disorder but not necessarily at the same time. If you or a loved one has a proper diagnosis, a schizoaffective disorder treatment service can help. Find out how mental health treatment at Rose Hill Center can guide you to living the life you want by calling 866.367.0220.
A Closer Look at Schizophrenia
About one percent of the population has a diagnosis of schizophrenia. There is no clear understanding of what causes it. However, research shows that the brains of most people who have schizophrenia are physically different compared to those who do not, suggesting that brain development may play a role. There is also evidence that chemical imbalances, specifically dopamine and glutamate, are a factor. As with most mental health conditions, mental health experts can’t rule out genetic and environmental influences.
Symptoms of schizophrenia include:
- Disorganized thinking or speech
- General apathy
- Catatonic or bizarre behavior
For a diagnosis, symptoms must be present for at least one month and cannot be caused by drug or alcohol use. The onset of schizophrenia is usually in the early 20s for men and the late 20s to early 30s for women. Fortunately, it is possible to treat and manage this condition using a combination of medication, talk therapy, and a strong support network.
A Closer Look at Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective disorder is rare, affecting only about 0.3% of the population. It is a severe mental health condition that usually impacts all aspects of a person’s functioning. Like most mental health conditions, the exact cause of schizoaffective disorder is unknown. However, brain chemistry, biology, genetics, and environmental influences all appear to be factors. The onset of schizoaffective disorder ranges from late adolescence through early adulthood.
Individuals who suffer from schizoaffective disorder may experience the same symptoms as those with schizophrenia. However, they have the additional symptoms of a mood disorder like mania or depression. The presence of mood disorder symptoms is the critical difference between a diagnosis of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.
Types and Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder
There are two types of schizoaffective disorder. The first type is depressive type schizoaffective disorder, which means they’re experiencing schizophrenia symptoms with episodes of major depressive disorder but no mania. The second type of condition is bipolar type schizoaffective disorder. This person experiences schizophrenia symptoms with episodes of major depression and mania.
Because schizoaffective disorder has symptoms of schizophrenia and either major depression or bipolar disorder, doctors often misdiagnose it as one or the other. Here are the criteria for meeting a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder:
- Symptoms are not caused by drug use
- Hallucinations or delusions for at least two weeks, without symptoms of a major mood episode
- Symptoms of a major mood episode occur for a majority of the extent of the illness
- Presence of a major depressive or major manic episode in conjunction with symptoms of schizophrenia
People who suffer from schizoaffective disorder are at higher risk for suicide and developing a co-occurring substance use disorder, especially without proper dual diagnosis treatment. Doctors treat and manage schizoaffective disorder with medications including antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers and with a range of evidence-based therapies. A strong support system is critical to the successful management of symptoms.
Find Effective Mental Health Services at Rose Hill
To treat severe mental health conditions, a residential treatment center provides a safe, stable, and secure environment for residents to learn how to manage their symptoms to lead their best life successfully. For schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia treatment in Michigan, turn to Rose Hill Center. We offer a full spectrum of comprehensive care on a 400-acre rural campus. To find out if our treatment center is right for you or your loved one, call us today at 866.367.0220. At Rose Hill Center, we provide residents with a place to live and grow.