The schizoaffective disorder indications become apparent in late adolescence or during early adulthood. Consequently, the vocational and social development of the patient during these peak years gets severely hampered by the development of the disease.
Schizoaffective disorder is defined as one of the most common psychiatric diagnosis of mental illness marked by repeated incidences of psychosis and frequent alterations between depressed and excited moods.
The major symptoms of this particular disorder are categorized as follows:
- Psychosis: Strange delusions, confused thinking, bizarre hallucinations, disorganized speech, and paranoia.
- Mood Disorders: Maniac, hypo maniac, and mixed episodes; clinical depression and recurring alterations between depressed and elevated moods.
Psychotic symptoms usually follow mood disorders. However, many a times, psychotic symptoms occur before a maniac, mixed, or a depressed episode. Both mood disorder and psychotic symptoms have also been observed to occur simultaneously. Following is a brief description of the various symptoms of the disorder:
- Hallucinations that involve the five human senses of the patient are a prominent symptom, common to both untreated and undertreated patients. In other words, the patient tends to hear, see, smell, feel, and taste stuff which does not exist in reality. The hallucinations and strange delusions get aggravated when the patient is intoxicated.
- Patients tend to be doubtful of everyone around them. Consequently, they isolate themselves and may even have a tendency to attack or change their minds about their family, friends, and partner.
- Anxiety disorders that accompany other major symptoms lead to disorganized thinking and confused speech. Over anxiety may also lead to various phobias and delusions of all sorts.
- Occupational and societal dysfunctions
- Tendency to sleep more or not sleep at all
- Cognitive defects, including difficulties in attention, logical reasoning, and concentration, are also prominent symptoms.
Dependant on the critical mood component and whether the patient has had a hypo-maniac, mixed, or a maniac episode in the past, the disorder has been classified into two variants – Depressive sub-type and the Bipolar sub-type. While the former is characterized by a maniac or mixed experience, the latter is marked solely by severe episodes of depression.
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