Schizoaffective Disorder

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder generally exhibits similar symptoms to schizophrenia, often leading to a misdiagnosis. Although individuals with this mental health disorder experience hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and delusions just as those with schizophrenia do, there are key differences between the two mental health disorders.
  • Depressive type: individual experiences episodes of major depression without mania
  • Bipolar type: individual experiences episodes of depression and mania
The critical difference between schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia is the presence of a mood disorder along with thought disorder symptoms. Individuals with schizoaffective disorder experience symptoms of a mood disorder, which results in two variants of the disorder:
Unlike schizophrenia, those with schizoaffective disorder experience symptoms of mood disorders for extended durations. Additionally, psychotic symptoms tend to occur in shorter episodes than those associated with schizophrenia. Although the conditions are very similar, they each require specialized attention and treatment.

What Causes Schizoaffective Disorder?

Medical professionals still don’t fully understand the exact cause of schizoaffective disorder. However, many recognize that the factors that can have an impact on someone’s condition can be both genetic and environmental. Some of the most common factors include:

Schizoaffective Disorder and Substance Use Disorder

Individuals with mental health disorders, such as schizoaffective disorder, often struggle with co-occurring substance use disorders. Often, when mental health disorders go without a diagnosis and comprehensive treatment, individuals rely on addictive substances to calm their minds.
For example, those with a depressive type schizoaffective disorder may use stimulants to lift their depressed moods or distract them from difficult thoughts. However, relying on addictive substances can eventually lead to dependence and addiction. A comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder treatment facility will teach clients healthier ways to manage the symptoms of a mental health disorder.

Treatment For Schizoaffective Disorder

An individual can learn to manage the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder successfully, however, the treatment must be individualized considering the person’s history, motivation, and response to suggestions. At Lifeskills, we treat schizoaffective disorder using our Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) Pathway.
The CRT Pathway is used to treat clients with thought disorders that are experiencing cognitive deficits including problems with attention, memory, processing speed, facial recognition, and other social deficits. The pathway uses BrainHQ which is a computer-based cognitive rehabilitation training program that helps people think more clearly and quickly. Using brain games and interpersonal skills groups, the pathway helps clients improve their attention, memory, problem-solving, organizational, and planning skills. Our CRT Pathway also uses other types of therapy, psychoeducation, and medications to help stop the cognitive decline and in some instances reverse it.
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