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How to diagnose schizoaffective disorder

How to diagnose schizoaffective disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a disease that is characterized by the presence of characteristic symptoms of psychosis and altered mood. Generally, this disorder usually has its onset in adulthood, although it can also occur in adolescence. There are several treatments for this disorder, and depending on the individual case, the use of antipsychotic drugs, anxiolytics and antidepressants, among others may be prescribed. Psychotherapy can also be recommended to accompany medical treatment. Below, we present how to recognise schizoaffective disorder.

Symptoms. Over a continuous period of time, the person experiences some psychotic symptoms together with the onset of a major depressive episode, manic episode or mixed episode. During the period that the disorder lasts, the person in question experiences delusions and hallucinations, over the course of at least 2 weeks, in the absence of any major emotional symptoms.

Psychotic symptoms. If, during at least one month, the person experiences any of the following symptoms: delusions (usually paranoid delusions), hallucinations (often auditory), disorganized speech (the language is inconsistent) or disorganized behavior. The person experiences a deterioration in their perception of reality, affecting them in many ways.

Emotional symptoms. During the period that a schizoaffective disorder lasts, a major depressive episode, manic or mixed episode occurs. In the case of a major depressive episode, it must last at least two weeks. With mixed and manic episodes, they must last at least 1 week.

Onset and duration. This disorder usually begins in adulthood and tends to last for at least 6 months. Psychotic symptoms usually occur during the first 2 months. During the following 3 months, emotional symptoms are combined with psychotic symptoms, and then in the last month, psychotic symptoms occur again.

Subtypes. Within schizoaffective disorder, there are two subtypes which are determined by the predominant affective disorder. There is either the bipolar type, when a manic or mixed episode occurs, or the depressive type, when a mood disorder coincides with a major depressive episode.

Daily life. A person who goes through a schizoaffective disorder experiences a deterioration in their work, social and family life. It is common for a person to begin finding it difficult to care for themselves. They gradually begin to isolate themselves and their performance at work suffers. It is also important to note that there is an increased risk of suicide.

Treatment. Firstly, it is of paramount importance that a specialist doctor is consulted for a proper diagnosis. Treatment usually involves the use of certain medications to treat symptoms, such as: antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiolytics, among others. At the same time, psychotherapy is recommended to accompany and complement any prescribed medication.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

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How to diagnose schizoaffective disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health disorder characterized by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms and mood disorder symptoms. Schizoaffective disorder is divided into two categories based on the type of mood disorder involved: bipolar disorder type and depressive type. There is no cure for schizoaffective disorder, but individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life with treatment. The schizoaffective disorder treatment program at Harmony Hills provides the most current treatment approaches available. To learn more about mental health treatment at Harmony Hills, contact us at 855.494.0357.

How is Schizoaffective Disorder Diagnosed?

The onset of schizoaffective disorder usually begins between the ages of 16 and 30. The condition affects men and women at similar rates, but the beginning is generally earlier for men. Because it is often misdiagnosed, it is hard to determine how many people have schizoaffective disorder, but it is relatively rare, affecting only about one percent of the population. Schizoaffective disorder is most commonly misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, depending on which symptoms are more dominant.

There are no laboratory tests to diagnose a schizoaffective disorder. To be diagnosed, your doctor will perform a physical exam that is followed by a psychological evaluation. During the physical exam, doctors will take a thorough medical history, administer a clinical interview, and use blood tests and brain imaging to rule out drug use and other illnesses that might be causing your symptoms. A psychological evaluation is administered by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist trained to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. The diagnostic criteria for a schizoaffective disorder include the following:

  • Periods of uninterrupted illness
  • Episode of major depression, mania, or both while also having schizophrenia symptoms
  • At least two weeks of psychotic symptoms (hallucinations or delusions) without mood symptoms
  • No evidence of a substance use disorder or medications that could be causing the symptoms

Schizoaffective disorder cannot be prevented. If you are diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, seeking treatment as soon as possible helps you learn to manage your symptoms and minimize disruptions in your life.

What Happens in Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment?

Schizoaffective disorder treatment includes medications and a combination of mental health treatments. Medications may include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. Since every client is different, the medications and psychotherapy practices utilized in treatment will depend on each individual’s unique needs and goals and the severity of symptoms. The initial goal of treatment for everyone is to stabilize symptoms and, where necessary, to detox from drugs or alcohol.

At Harmony Hills, we believe in person-centered treatment, not treatment that focuses on a diagnosis. We work closely with you during your intake assessment to fully understand your history, current status, and future goals. From this information, we create a treatment plan designed to help heal your mind, body, and spirit that has the flexibility to change with your changing needs as you progress in treatment. Among the mental health treatment therapies available are the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • EMDR therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Medication management

Individuals with schizoaffective disorder are at increased risk for suicide and substance use disorders, especially when they do not receive proper treatment. Other common co-occurring mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, ADHD, and PTSD. At Harmony Hills, we know the importance of treating co-occurring conditions simultaneously for the best treatment outcomes.

Choose Harmony Hills for Mental Health Treatment

Schizoaffective disorder can have devastating effects when left untreated. Complications can include family conflict, medical issues, financial instability, housing insecurity, unemployment, social isolation, and legal matters. Professional care from the schizoaffective disorder treatment program at Harmony Hills can provide you or your loved one with the skills and tools needed to learn to manage symptoms for long-term recovery.

Harmony Hills offers inpatient or outpatient treatment, depending on your level of need. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to determine which treatment center program is best for you and learn more about schizoaffective disorder treatment options.