Schizoaffective disorder is a psychiatric condition. It is a mental disorder in which the patient experiences and displays depressive moods, mood swings, and excessive excitement, which are generally accompanied with distorted perceptions.
The symptoms of this disorder become apparent before the age of fifteen. They are similar to psychotic features of bipolar disorder, recurrent depression, and schizophrenia.
The following are the top five symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:
1) Depression symptoms: Schizoaffective disorder symptoms include symptoms of depression. These symptoms vary in severity from one person to another. Some of the symptoms are poor appetite, guilt, inability to focus, loss of interest in social activities, lack of energy, restlessness, sleeplessness or excessive sleeping, and suicidal thoughts.
2) Manic symptoms: Signs of schizoaffective disorder include manic symptoms such as inflated self-esteem, excessive distraction, little or no sleep, excessive or rapid talking, increased activity in social or sexual areas, and dangerous or reckless behaviors. These symptoms occur in schizoaffective bipolar disorder, which is a subtype of schizoaffective disorder.
3) Schizophrenia symptoms: A major part of schizoaffective symptoms includes symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms include disorganized thinking, hallucination, unusual behavior, delusions, imaginary beliefs, slow movements, lack of expressions in speech or action, low motivation, and disinterest in most activities.
4) Major depressive disorder symptoms:
These symptoms include fatigue, indecisiveness, frequent agitation, recurrent suicidal thoughts or attempts, excessive or almost no sleep, feelings of being worthless and frequent self-blame.
5) All schizoaffective disorders include most of the symptoms of schizophrenia coupled with symptoms of depression, manic symptoms, or major depressive disorder symptoms. When the schizophrenia disorder symptoms are coupled with manic disorder symptoms or mixed symptoms, it is diagnosed as schizoaffective bipolar disorder. If these symptoms are displayed frequently during an uninterrupted period of illness lasting longer than 15 days, a physician can confirm the diagnosis.
If the symptoms of schizophrenia are coupled with depression or major depression symptoms, the condition is diagnosed as schizoaffective disorder.
Schizoaffective bipolar disorder is characterized by the mood swings typically found in bipolar disorder and the psychotic symptoms that are typical of schizophrenia. However, schizoaffective bipolar disorder is often mistaken for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and sometimes for depression.
The treatment method for schizoaffective bipolar disorder, which is also called affective bipolar disorder, is different from the treatment for depressive type schizoaffective disorder.
The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), Text Revision contains, in detail, the criteria for diagnosis of depressive-type schizoaffective bipolar disorder and schizoaffective bipolar disorder.
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