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About Schizoaffective Disorder

Today we are going to talk about something that is important to me. I want to discuss my schizoaffective disorder. Honestly, I don’t think it’s talked about enough. It’s a disorder that doesn’t seem to get a lot of lime light. So I decided that if no one else wants to really discuss it, I will! This has been a more recent diagnosis for me, but I’ve had it my whole life. I’m so happy to have finally figured out exactly what I have. With both therapy and medication, I have been very successful at keeping it all at bay.

Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression. There are two types to this disorder. Manic and Depressive. Many people with schizoaffective disorder are often incorrectly diagnosed at first with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. I personally was diagnosed with psychosis and bipolar disorder, as well as panic disorder (this one I might make a whole other post about).

As I said before, schizoaffective hasn’t had many studies done on it. The fact that it is relatively rare does not help.

There are several symptoms to this order. Such as:

-Hallucinations- a sensory experience in which a person can see, hear, smell, taste, or feel something that is not there.

-Delusions- an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument

-Depression- feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Yes it’s more than just feeling “sad”.

-Manic behavior- a period of mood elevation that's generally characterized by high energy and activity levels.

I have all these symptoms. And what are the causes? I’m happy you asked. The number one cause is genetics. Yup, it tends to run in the family. This is where I think I get it from. Other causes(that I found via the internet) consist of brain chemistry/structure, stress (such as a death), and drugs.

Obviously there is no laboratory tests that can diagnose schizoaffective disorder. It doesn’t help that it is a rare disorder. After doing the brain scans and blood tests, other diagnosis can be disqualified. If your primary doctor can’t find a physical cause, you will probably be referred to a psychiatrist. Basically you will probably be diagnosed with other things before it starts to click in your psychiatrist’s mind. That’s exactly how it happened to me.

Now let’s move onto treatment. People with schizoaffective disorder generally respond best to a combination of:

-Medications: can include anti-psychotic medications (to manage symptoms like delusions and hallucinations), mood stabilizers (for bipolar type), and antidepressants (for depressive type.)

-Psychotherapy: Individual cognitive behavioural therapy and family-focused therapy can help individuals with schizoaffective disorder manage and learn to cope with their symptoms. Group therapy helps decrease social isolation.

-Life skills training: Learning social and vocational skills can help reduce isolation and improve the quality of life for individuals with schizoaffective disorder. Social skills training helps improve communication and improve interactions with others both at home and in the work setting, and vocational training helps people prepare for, find, and maintain employment.

(the above treatment description I got from psycom.

But of course, treatment varies from person to person. Like I said earlier, I go to therapy and take about five medications for it all. I also try to get out and about, when I can. And that is what works for me.

There is no cure for schizoaffective disorder. Long term treatment is required.

I hope this post was informative, and hopefully this helps people learn more on the subject of schizoaffective disorder.

Until next time, Namaste.

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