Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a condition in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations and mood disorder symptoms such as seen in mania, depression. It is often not correctly diagnosed as shows a complex picture of mental health disorders and runs a very unique course in every individual. It becomes a major challenge for family due to severity of complaints and non functional state of person.

Symptoms

This may show a unique picture with varying severity and combination of symptoms. There may be periods of severity followed by improvement.

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired functional ability
  • Academic or professional deterioration
  • Lack of social functioning
  • Depressed or changeable mood
  • Lack of self care and responsibility

Causes

The exact cause of schizoaffective disorder is not known. Factors that may contribute are:

  • Genetics and Family history
  • Abnormal brain structure and chemistry
  • Traumatic life events
  • Substance abuse
  • Complications during pregnancy

Diagnosis

DSM criteria for the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder include:

  • A mood disorder along with schizophrenia
  • Psychotic symptoms for at least two weeks
  • Mood disorder runs major part of course of illness 

Tests and Investigations

  • History and Clinical assessment
  • Blood tests
  • EEG, CT and MRI

Complications

  • Social isolation
  • Unemployment and poverty
  • Deterioration of mental health
  • Physical health complications due to neglect
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicide

Treatments

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy and Hypnotherapy
  • Family therapy
  • Holistic Management
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