Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum


From the US National Library of Medicine

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health condition that includes features of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder or depression. The prefix “schizo-” refers to the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia that affect a person’s thinking, sense of self, and perceptions. The term “-affective” refers to extreme shifts in mood, energy, and behavior.

Schizoaffective disorder has a wide range of signs and symptoms that make it challenging to diagnose. Its features overlap significantly with those of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and there is debate about whether schizoaffective disordershould be considered a separate diagnosis or a subtype of one of these other conditions.

Signs and symptoms of psychosis in people with schizoaffective disorderinclude false perceptions called hallucinations, such as hearing voices no one else can hear or experiencing visions, smells, or tactile (touch) sensations. Strongly held false beliefs (delusions) are also a characteristic feature. For example, affected individuals may be certain that they are a particular historical figure or that they are being plotted against or controlled by others.

There are two major types of schizoaffective disorder, based on which mood disorder is involved: the bipolar type and the depressive type. The bipolar type includes both dramatic “highs,” called manic episodes, and “lows,” called depressive episodes. The depressive type includes only depressive episodes. Manic episodes are characterized by increased energy and activity, irritability, restlessness, an inability to sleep, and reckless behavior. Depressive episodes are marked by low energy and activity, a feeling of hopelessness, and an inability to perform everyday tasks.

The psychosis and mood problems associated with schizoaffective disorder usually become evident in adolescence or young adulthood. People with this condition often have difficulty functioning at school, at work, and in social settings. Disordered thinking and concentration, inappropriate emotional responses, erratic speech and behavior, and difficulty with personal hygiene and everyday tasks are also common. People with schizoaffective disorder have a higher risk of substance abuse problems and dying by suicide than the general population.

Related Information

1 Like

Thank you for posting this, Bloom. My husband is schizoaffective, bipolar type although he almost always seems to be stuck in manic mode because he drinks so much caffeine.

1 Like

Thank you for sharing this information.

1 Like

@LifeIsHard - my son also has schizoaffective bipolar type and I found this helpful to read. He would ask me to buy him those energy drinks and I would suggest we go get a coffee instead. The coffee seems to have a more calming effect for him but his body system has always been different.

I think I read that your husband is homeless. Forgive me if I have you mixed up with another. My son has been homeless a number of times. One time he left the group home and no one knew where he was for days which turned into weeks. After 2 weeks I would think I saw him on the street when I was driving to work. Such a stressful time not knowing if he was dead or alive.

He had taken a bus all the way across the country. He always remembered my phone number (just amazing) and the youth homeless shelter he ended up at called me to let me know he was there and safe! They recognized he was very ill and managed to get him to a university psychiatrist who treated him with medication until he was well enough to travel back home. I will always be grateful to that organization for what they did!

I’m so sorry you have to struggle with this.

1 Like

It’s so very hard and so heartbreaking. My son, as most, was a gentle genius in math & music, willing to help anyone needing his assistance. Now he is obese, I’ll, recently shot by a violent policeman, in his stomach with a rubber bullet causing internal bleeding, then put in a cell. Here we deal with the sheriff’s office and the sheriff is not interested in mental health at all. They view it as domestic abuse in a criminal sense only. Where other places have their men trained he does not. I have to move my son to a different location but have no funds to do that right now. I am trying to earn enough to move.

My son is 30 years old and living with me. He has been diagnosed as SZA bipolar type. He is always in psychosis and he becomes manic almost never depressive. When he becomes manic, he will become belligerent, aggressive, and violent. He suffers many delusional beliefs about himself to the point of calling himself the Archangel Michael. He believes he is the King of the Army, Air Force, and Marines. He also suffers anasognosia. He has been committed 5 times, but so far he won’t stay on the prescribed medications. Ergo, he always returns to his state of psychosis/mania. He has been incarcerated three times with each leading to a worsening of his condition (no treatment and separation from the general population). He and I have fought several times with me usually coming out on the short end. There won’t be a next time as I will have him arrested if he attacks again. It is such a sad state of affairs that in our country we can’t address this very serious problem. It does seem to be growing with nearly 1% of the American population experiencing some sort of serious mental issues. And yet, we’d rather build a wall that won’t stop a thing.

Political bullshit is not acceptable here… You are clueless.

Thank you for you telling insight. You too are clueless.

1 Like

Thank you so much for sharing