Schizoaffective Disorder is not a new term to medical circles. However, nonprofessionals may take it to mean schizophrenia. While schizoaffective disorder may feature the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia, it also relates to the emotional disorders that are associated with bipolar disorder. Thus, persons with schizoaffective disorder have both the symptoms common with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Background Information on Schizoaffective Disorder
Those affected with schizoaffective disorder suffer from a brain disorder that affects the way they perceive reality, as well as their emotional state. As stated, persons who suffer from this condition fall on the thin line between schizophrenia (schizo) and bipolar disorder (affective). Those diagnosed with this condition may be affected by symptoms of both conditions, while at other times, they may just be affected by the psychotic conditions common with schizophrenia without the emotional symptoms of bipolar disorder.
The way each person is affected by the condition is unique. The diagnosis of the condition involves monitoring the patient for signs of overlapping schizophrenic symptoms along with bipolar symptoms. At times, only symptoms of schizophrenia may be considered. The best way to evaluate the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder is closely assessing the individual symptoms of bipolar disorder, as well as those of schizophrenia.
Common Schizophrenia Symptoms
Patients who suffer schizophrenia exhibit a multitude of symptoms. Some of the more common ones include hallucinations or delusions, and general disorganization.
Delusions are one of the major indicating symptoms of schizophrenia. Delusions are beliefs in things that are not real. Rather, they tend to be figments of one's imagination. Schizophrenic patients will often claim their delusions to be true, regardless of any evidence provided to prove the contrary. Hallucinations tend to be caused by auditory disturbances. In such situations, the patient will hear voices, which they may converse with.
Schizophrenic patients may also have trouble expressing their emotions. They tend to seclude themselves from other people and social activities. The patient may also lose all interest in positive feelings. This disturbance of emotion is referred to as emotional disturbances.
Common Bipolar Symptoms
Bipolar symptoms are of two natures: mania and depression. Patients with this disorder may cycle through the two episodes for long periods of time.
Mania symptoms include decreased need for sleep, feeling of overflowing energy, rapidly talking on different ideas at once, inflated happiness, attraction to high-risk behavior, as well as sexual promiscuity.
Depression symptoms may include lack of sleep, constant feeling of sadness, thinking of death and suicide for a long time, guilty feelings, inability to experience happiness or participate in happy activities, fatigue and frequent headaches.