Symptoms And Treatment Of Schizoaffective Disorder

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Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition “characterized by persistent psychosis and mood episodes of depressive, manic and/or mixed types” (Abrams, Rojas, Arcinegras, 2008). Schizoaffective disorder has a low lifetime prevalence ranging between 0.5-0.8%. This disorder is also most commonly seen in more women than in men, with women having a later onset of the disorder (Yogeswary, 2014). Although there is no concrete evidence, it is believed that schizoaffective disorder is caused by a combination of neurotransmitter imbalances, genetics and early environmental influences (“Schizoaffective Disorder”, 2008). This disorder is usually long-term and affects behaviors, thinking, feeling and functioning. The bridge used to close the gap between mood disorders and schizophrenia is the diagnosis of schizoaffective psychosis. Psychosis is defined as “disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing and believing things that aren’t real or having strange, persistent thoughts, behaviors and emotions” (“Early Psychosis and Psychosis”, n.d.). While psychosis includes a wide variety of symptoms, its major symptoms consist of hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations can be characterized as seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling things that are not truly present. For example, hearing voices, unexplainable feelings and seeing objects that are not there are hallucinations. Delusions are the other major symptom of psychosis. Delusions are described as strong beliefs that are irrational and most times false. Believing that outside sources are controlling your thoughts, feelings and behaviors is ... ... middle of paper ... ... the disorder, but they can reduce symptoms and prevent relapses among the majority of people with the disorder” (“Facts About Schizoaffective”, n.d.). Lithium, a major mood stabilizer, is an important treatment. It can not only treat mania, but also prevent manic and depressive episodes. Some non-pharmacologic treatments include “social skills training, vocational rehabilitation and supported employment, peer support, and intensive case management” (“Facts About Schizoaffective”, n.d.). Also known to help with schizoaffective disorder is therapy and counseling. Individual counseling can help the diagnosed to manage the disorder by focusing on current plans, problems and relationships (Yogeswary, 2014). Individuals with schizoaffective disorder who put forth effort in recovery can positively affect the course of their disorder and improve the quality of their lives.
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