Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness. It includes a mix of the symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.
The cause of schizoaffective disorder is unknown. It seems to occur more in some families, and stress may trigger symptoms. About one person in 100 has schizoaffective disorder.
Symptoms may include:
You should tell your healthcare provider or a psychiatrist if you are having symptoms of this disorder. Sometimes it is hard for people with mental illness to recognize that they are not well. Take the advice of your friends or family members if they are encouraging you to seek help.
Your provider will ask about your symptoms, relationships, history of drug and alcohol use, medical problems, and family history of medical conditions and mental illnesses. He or she may do a physical exam or order tests to rule out medical conditions.
Medicines are the most important part of the treatment of schizoaffective disorder. Many medicines are available. Take your medicine as prescribed, even when you are feeling and thinking well. Otherwise your symptoms are likely to worsen. Watch closely for any side effects of your medicine, and report them to your healthcare provider.
Schizoaffective disorder can change the way you relate to others and the way you think about everyday activities. You may need someone to assist you with your daily needs. You may need help managing your money or running errands, for example. You may live in a group setting with others who also have this illness.
If your symptoms are severe, you may need to go to the hospital until they improve. While you are in the hospital your medicine may be changed, and you may attend groups to learn skills such as how to deal with stress.
Schizoaffective disorder is usually a lifelong illness. Symptoms may go away for awhile, and then come back. This can affect relationships, and make it hard to hold a job or go to school. While there is no cure for this disorder, symptoms may be controlled with proper treatment.
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