Schizoaffective disorder is a psychotic disorder with features of a mood disorder. If you experience classic symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions, and experience episodes of mania or depression, you may suffer from schizoaffective disorder.
What is schizoaffective disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health disorder that affects less than a million estimated adults in the United States. There are two main categories of schizoaffective disorder into which patients fall:
- Depressive schizoaffective disorder
- Bipolar schizoaffective disorder
What is bipolar schizoaffective disorder?
In addition to psychotic symptoms, individuals with bipolar schizoaffective disorder also experience manic episodes and sometimes depressive episodes. Manic episodes can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks and are characterized by elevated mood, intense energy, impulsive thoughts, and other extreme behaviors.
What is depressive schizoaffective disorder?
Individuals with depressive schizoaffective disorder only experience depressive episodes in addition to psychotic symptoms. Depressive episodes typically last several months to a year and are characterized by:
- Low mood
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of interest in things once enjoyed
- Appetite changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
How is schizoaffective disorder different from schizophrenia?
It is often difficult to tell the difference between schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia due to the common overlap of symptoms. The main difference is that with schizoaffective disorder, mood disorder is prominent.