Schizoaffective Disorder Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental disorder that involves two serious mental conditions; schizophrenia and either depression or bipolar disorder. To break it down one by one, schizophrenia is a state wherein a person’s perceived reality, thinking and actions are altered. On the other hand, depression is a mental state characterized by feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness. Bipolar disorder is a state wherein an individual experiences sudden changes in moods like being hyperactive and happy one moment and getting all frustrated or depressed the next. An individual suffering from this kind of illness suffers from a combination of audible hallucination, paranoia, and sudden mood swings. This would then lead for one to become disorganized with one’s thoughts and speech. Schizoaffective disorder is a life long illness. Unluckily there is no cure for this; however, there are ways to control the symptoms.

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Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorders

The symptoms of schizoaffective disorders may vary with each individual. Some have moderate types and the others have the severe dangerous types. All in all, the common symptom for each is having abnormal thoughts, hallucinations and sudden changes in mood. Let us now dissect each symptom of a person suffering from schizoaffective disorder.

Depression – Depression is characterized by a feeling of there’s no hope left for oneself. This could cause an individual to have a poor appetite resulting in a remarkable weight loss. Sometimes, there is weight gain because some people eat a lot when they become depressed. Most of the time, they lack energy and feel restless resulting to changes in their sleeping time. Some lack sleep and some oversleep. A person who has depression often feels that he is alone and that every little mistake he makes would cause him to think of committing suicide.

Mania – Mania is going to the extremes. This is when an individual becomes so hyperactive over everything. An individual feels restless most of the time and feels the need to do something all the time. This includes work, social and sexual activity. A manic person often feels distracted and is easily agitated thus resulting to a self-destructive or a dangerous behavior that can cause harm to self and to others that surround him.

Schizophrenia – Schizophrenia is when an individual has some delusions like having an imaginary friend. They are often seen talking to themselves. Auditory hallucinations are also rampant. They often hear voices causing them to have disorganized thoughts. Schizophrenic people often have problems with communicating with other people. Their speech is stuttered and unorganized.

What Causes Schizoaffective Disorders

The exact cause of schizoaffective disorder cannot be easily pinpointed and it still remains unknown. However, researches considered that the cause for this kind of mental disorder involves genetic, biochemical and environmental factors:

Genetics – Schizoaffective disorders are hereditary. Meaning this disorder is passed on from parents to their children. This also applies to blood related relatives. For example the parents of the child has no schizoaffective disorders, however, the grandmother has it. The child of the couple can also possibly inherit that said disease.

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Brain chemistry – Human brains have chemicals called neurotransmitters. These help send signals or messages to the brain with the use of the nerve cells. An imbalance of such chemicals would interfere with the transmission of messages to the brain. Some people may lack these chemicals or may have an excess of these causing one’s brain to be disorganized.

Environmental Factors – Schizoaffective disorders can also arise from complications with environmental factors. Such factors would include being too much stressed over something, excluding oneself from the society and thinking too much over a problem. These factors would then trigger one’s brain, and may cause chemical imbalance and eventually develop the disorder.

Schizoaffective disorders Treatment

Schizoaffective disorder has no cure, however, symptoms can be controlled with the use of medications. Also, regular psychiatric sessions can help the individual accept one’s illness and help live with it. Here are the different types of treatments:

Take the right medication

o There is a huge array of antipsychotic drugs in the market nowadays. The most important thing is to determine each symptom and counteract it with the right medication. The doctor is the best person to ask about these medications. The common drugs used to control agitation or to stabilize the mood are risperidone, olanzapine, haloperidol and lorazepam.

Enroll in psychotherapy class

o Since schizoaffective disorder is a lifetime illness, it is important that the individual learn to embrace and live with the disease. It helps the patient to know about his disorder. Constant communication is important. Family therapy is considered as one of the strongest, most effective therapy of all. The support from loved ones can always encourage one to accept this illness and learn to live with it.

Develop skills training

o Since an individual suffering from schizoaffective disorder often are disorganized and forgetful, it is important that he/she focus more on a pattern in his daily life. Like taking a bath every day, have good hygiene and engaging in a conversation with the people around him. Furthermore, one should also focus on money and home management, that way, brain cells would be exercised and eventually it will become a habit that can greatly help counteracting one’s illness.

Confine oneself in an institution

o For the people suffering from severe symptoms, or for those who cannot control their illness and has become a threat not only to one’s life but to others as well, the best thing to do is to confine that individual to a hospital or an institution. The institution has healthcare professionals that could greatly help in stabilizing their conditions.

Schizoaffective disorder is a lifelong illness. There could only be supportive treatment to counter the symptoms of this disease. It is very vital to seek medical attention in order for the patient to be educated with one’s illness. Learning to live with it is the key. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are the owner of your body; don’t let schizoaffective disorder bring you down.

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