Living with Schizoaffective Disorder: Everything You Need to Know

One person shared their experience with schizoaffective disorder on the main website for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Here is an excerpt from their story: The aspects of my illness that affect my life the most are the constant shifts in mood, how I appear to the rest of the world and the knowledge that my entire life will have to be carefully managed with skills and medications.”

Schizoaffective disorder is said to affect nearly 1 or 2 out of every 1,000 people. This disorder is most often firstly misdiagnosed as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, mainly because the symptoms do overlap. The following are 6 main symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:

  • Hallucinations – seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t really there
  • Delusions – believing things that are not necessarily true
  • Disorganized speech – talking too fast or too slow, saying things that do not make sense to others
  • Disorganized behavior – wearing clothes that seem odd to others or acting inappropriately, for example
  • Catatonic behavior – voluntary movement stops, and you may appear to be in a daze

A 2014 review published in the International Journal of Clinical Psychiatry emphasizes that those with a family history and women are highest at risk for developing schizoaffective disorder. Despite the impairment that these symptoms may cause, treatment is available and may include a variety of the following:

  • Medication
  • Group Counseling
  • Individual Psychotherapy
  • Social Skills Training

Ultimately, the sooner a person seeks help, the quicker a person can learn to manage their symptoms effectively – making it very important that you seek treatment if you relate to any of the symptoms listed above. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about treatment for schizoaffective disorder and aspects of treatment that would best suit your needs. As another person explained on NAMI, Brain disorders are not defaults of character. I do not call myself schizoaffective. I call myself what I am: a person living with schizoaffective disorder.”

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