Schizoaffective disorder, a kind of psychiatric condition, is characterized by mental disorder, featuring distortions in perceptions along with frequent alterations between depressed and elevated moods. Emotions and cognition of the patient are most affected in this condition. Some of the typical symptoms and indications observed in patients include occupational and social dysfunctions, strange delusions, disorganized thinking, bizarre hallucinations, confused speech, and paranoia.
These symptoms usually become apparent during the early stages of adulthood, making diagnosis before the age of 13 difficult and nearly impossible. As no lab tests are there for this disorder, the observed, self-reported behavior of the patients usually form the base of diagnosis. The disorder is more easily predicted than schizophrenia, but its prognosis is worse than that in case of disorders of mood.
The disorder has been classified into two types -- Depressive and Bipolar -- depending on the disorder’s critical component of mood and whether the patient has had a hypo-maniac, mixed, or a maniac episode in the past. The bipolar kind is characterized by a mixed or maniac episode. The depressive subtype is marked solely by major episodes of acute depression. The development of this disorder is attributed to a number of factors, such as genetics, neurophysiology, social and psychological processes, and premature environment. Although the accurate cause is not known, most researches focus on neurophysiology as the main reason behind the development of this illness in people.
Owing to a very high suicide rate and associated health problems, the usual life expectancy of schizoaffective disorder individuals is less than even 1 percent. Treatment of the disorder includes administration of a mix of antipsychotic and anti-depressant medications, psychotherapy, and psychiatric rehabilitation.
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