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What is schizoaffective disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder is a life-long mental health condition. Some symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can affect:

  • Your ability to think clearly
  • How you relate to others
  • How you express your emotions

Schizoaffective disorder is a distinct mental disorder. Often people who have it have been diagnosed with other mental illnesses in the past because its symptoms can be similar to schizophrenia, depression, or bipolar disorder.

Schizoaffective disorder can be difficult to diagnose. That’s why it’s important and helpful to discuss with your doctor your symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and how they change over time. Talking about your experiences with your treatment team may help them create a better treatment plan for you.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, schizoaffective disorder is defined by the following:

  • Periods when psychotic symptoms and
    mood symptoms (like mania, depression) occur at the same time
  • At least 2 weeks of hallucinations and delusions without any mood symptoms
  • You experience mood symptoms for a majority of the time
  • Symptoms are not due to substance abuse, medication, or a general medical issue