Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental illness characterized by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms and an affective (mood) disorder. This is a condition where a person experiences hallucinations or delusions and also mania or depression. Research has shown schizoaffective disorder involves delays or variations in a child’s brain development. Genetics are also a factor. Those with an increased risk of developing the schizoaffective disorder include anyone with a relative who has schizophrenia, a mood disorder, or schizoaffective disorder.
Symptoms range from hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and paranoid thoughts to mood disturbances, isolation, and avoiding social scenarios. Other symptoms include changes in appetite and energy, disorganized speech, lack of hygiene or grooming, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating.
Complications of schizoaffective disorder include drug abuse, problems with medical treatment and therapy, and suicidal behavior. Most people with schizoaffective disorder require long-term therapy with a combination of medications and psychosocial interventions. With proper treatment individuals can maintain an appropriate level of functioning and quality of life.
Treatment methods for schizoaffective disorder include medications like antipsychotics, which help delusions, paranoia and hallucinations. Mood-stabilizing medications can level out the highs and lows of bipolar disorder, the mania and depressed moods. Antidepressants can treat feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or difficulty with sleep and concentration.
Psychotherapy and counseling can help individuals better understand their condition, creating a focus on life plans, problems, and relationships. Family therapy or group therapy allows the individual to discuss their real-life problems with others and can also help decrease social isolation, providing a reality check during waves of psychosis.
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.