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Schizoaffective disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental disorder that combines the symptoms of mood disorder and psychosis. Both symptoms are prominent. The illness usually begins in early adulthood, and is more common in women.

There are two sub-types of schizoaffective disorder: the bipolar type and the depressive type. The bipolar type has a better prognosis than the depressive type, which can have a residual defect with the passing of time. Bipolar schizoaffective disorder is more similar to bipolar disorder than schizophrenia. People with bipolar disorder may also suffer from isolated episodes of schizoaffective disorders.

People who have a schizoaffective disorder have symptoms of psychosis, such as bizarre delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech or behaviour, in addition to mood disorders, all at the same time. However, there will usually be periods of at least two weeks with psychotic features, but with an absence of mood disorders (such as a major depression or a manic or mixed state episode).

Signs and Symptoms

Diagnostic criteria for schizoaffective disorder from the DSM-IV:

A. Two (or more) of the following symptoms are present for the majority of a one-month period:

* delusions

* hallucinations

* disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)

* grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior

* negative symptoms (i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition)

Note: Only one of these symptoms is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person's behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.

AND at some time there is either a

* major depressive episode

* manic episode

* mixed episode

B. During the same period of illness, there have been delusions or hallucinations for at least two weeks in the absence of prominent mood symptoms.

C. Symptoms that meet criteria for a mood episode are present for a substantial portion of the total duration of the active and residual periods of the illness.

D. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.


Bipolar Type - if the disturbance includes

* manic episode

* mixed episode

* manic and major depressive episodes

* mixed and major depressive episode Depressive Type - if the disturbance inludes major depressive episodes exclusively.


The best treatment for schizoaffective disorder is a combination of therapy and medicine. It is essential for someone with this disorder to be under the care of a licensed psychiatrist. He or she will prescribe different combinations of medicine to the patient in order to find the combination that works. Each person responds differently to medicine.

Common medicines used to treat schizoaffective disorder:

* Depakote ER

* Lithium

* Risperdal

* Seroquel Often a sleeping pill will be prescribed to allow the patient rest from his or her anxiety or hallucinations.

The information above is not intended for and should not be used as a substitute for the diagnosis and/or treatment by a licensed, qualified, health-care professional. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It incorporates material originating from the Wikipedia article "Schizoaffective disorder".

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