While most people may have heard about the disorder known as schizophrenia, few actually know about schizoaffective disorder or its medication. The reasons for this may very well be due to the rarity of the disorder.
Schizoaffective Disorder is a rare condition that is at the far end of the schizophrenic spectrum. In fact it lies on the border line of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. What this means is that the affected person may have overlapping symptoms of mood disorders such mania and depression cycles, as well as the psychotic effects of schizophrenia. Although the condition is rare, it can be controlled through comprehensive treatment.
Medication for Schizoaffective Disorder
There are several medications available on the market that can help with the condition. However, it should be noted that the FDA has only endorsed Invega, an antipsychotic drug that contains paliperidone as the approved drug to be prescribed for controlling schizoaffective disorder.
It is important to note that all drugs have side effects. Anti-psychotics often have the disadvantage of being effective in controlling the disorder but may result in a multitude of undesirable side effects. Thus, it becomes increasingly crucial that all patients taking such medication be closely monitored to ensure that side effects do not become debilitating.
The Use of Anti-psychotic Drugs
Anti-psychotic drugs are used to control the psychotic symptoms that a patient suffering from schizoaffective disorder tends to suffer from. These symptoms include hallucinations and delusions, as well as paranoia. Other symptoms may include disorganization and emotional disturbances. The anti-psychotic drugs work through controlling these symptoms, as well as ensuring the patient remains calm.
The Use of Mood Stabilizers
As stated, schizoaffective disorder patients often exhibit bipolar disorder symptoms which mean that they are unable to control their moods. These moods are of two types: mania and depression. The periods through which the patient may cycle through these moods varies with a slow cycle taking almost a year and a rapid cycle taking place every month. Thus, there is a great need for the patient to be able to control these mood changes. There are various medications designed to achieve this purpose. Depending on the severity of the disorder, mood stabilizers may be prescribed together with anti-psychotics.
The two medications listed above, paliperidone and various mood stabilizers, are the most common prescribed medications for patients who have schizoaffective disorder. Other medications used in special cases are anti-anxiety drugs and anti-convulsants.
Care must be taken to watch for any undesired side effects. Moreover, the consulting physician must be kept informed of all aspects of treatment in case of emergencies.