What is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Let’s Meet Julie…

Julie is a 29-year-old lawyer living in San Francisco. She has a lot going for her—a great profession, a loving boyfriend, and a close group of friends. Unfortunately, however, life has gotten a bit out of hand.  Julie has been having issues at the law firm where she works. Robert, the lead attorney, has been complaining that her work has become unfocused over the last few weeks and that during team meetings she has been ill-tempered and difficult to collaborate with.

Her personal life is not much different. Julie’s boyfriend, Brian, has been growing more and more concerned about her behavior at home. Paranoia, delusions, and sleep issues have become part of Julie’s routine. She has started to keep all the lights and electronics in the house turned off for fear that someone is watching her, listening to her, and planning to sabotage her career. In addition, she has also started to believe that cryptic messages are being left for her in the daily newspaper. To add to Julie’s situation, her attention to her appearance and hygiene have also started to deteriorate. What is going on with Julie? Should she seek help?

The answer—yes. Julie is showing clear signs of potential schizoaffective disorder.

Understanding and Compassion for Schizoaffective Disorder: Taking the First Step Towards Your Recovery

Julie is not alone in what she is experiencing.

Dealing with your mental health head-on is one of the most difficult and frightening decisions you will ever have to make. Are you anxious that what you uncover may tarnish your professional reputation? Worried over your relationships with friends and family? We fully understand your concerns. Bridges to Recovery residential treatment centers are here to help you along every step of your journey toward controlling your schizoaffective disorder and the issues it is causing in your life. Not sure if you’re suffering from schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, or another mental health disorder altogether? We can help.

When you arrive for treatment at Bridges, you will meet with your psychiatrist within 24 hours for a complete psychiatric assessment. Next you will meet with your primary therapist, who will complete a clinical evaluation. Then, during the first week or 10 days, you will also meet with our neuropsychologist to complete a comprehensive battery of psychological tests. The team will collaborate closely with you and each other as we co-create a comprehensive treatment plan customized to your unique needs and goals.

Bridges to Recovery has a long-standing reputation as being one of the leading mental health treatment centers in the country. We pride ourselves on two key components of safe, effective, and enriching recovery and treatment: understanding and compassion. Our highly trained and dedicated staff of mental health professionals are ready to help you on every step of your recovery journey, which includes not only regaining control of your issues, but gaining a much greater understanding of your mental health concerns.

Schizoaffective Disorder: What Exactly is Going on with Julie?

After testing and interviewing Julie, the clinical team diagnosed Julie with a condition you are likely familiar with – schizoaffective disorder. What does this mean for Julie? What exactly is schizoaffective disorder, and how has it been affecting her life?

One of the most misunderstood disorders in the mental health community is schizoaffective disorder. Is it a type of schizophrenia? Is it a type of depression or other mood disorder? When only looking at the name, the answer is not quite clear at first. In fact, schizoaffective disorder shares many similarities to schizophrenia and depression; however, when looked at in more detail, it is an entirely different and unique disorder.

Like many mental health disorders, schizoaffective disorder is a serious condition. Many people do not recognize that schizoaffective disorder features symptoms of two other major conditions—schizophrenia and mood disorder. In many ways, just like its related disorders, schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental illness, which means that it either has a long duration period or constantly reoccurs. Unfortunately, as is the case with many chronic mental health issues, schizoaffective disorder cannot be cured, but treatment can be administered to greatly help manage symptoms.

Schizoaffective Disorder: The Causes and Symptoms

Schizoaffective disorder is less studied than its cousins—schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. This fact has made it difficult for researchers and doctors to determine what the exact cause of the disorder is. This is not unusual, as history has proven that determining the exact cause of a mental disorder can be problematic at best. What can be said for sure is this: a combination of factors may contribute to schizoaffective disorder’s development, including genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors. The root cause can also potentially be different from person to person.

Some factors that increase the risk of developing schizoaffective disorder include:

  • Having a blood relative who has suffered from schizoaffective disorder or other mental health disorders. The list includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and more.
  • Stressful life events can trigger the development of schizoaffective disorder. Examples of this can include a death of a parent, a loss of an important relationship, a near-death experience, an assault, and more.
  • Drug abuse can lead to the development of schizoaffective disorder and other mental health disorders.

Similar to bipolar disorder, there are two different types of schizoaffective disorder:

  1. Schizoaffective Disorder Bipolar Type: Version of schizoaffective disorder in which an individual will experience periods of both mania and depression.
  2. Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type: Version of schizoaffective disorder in which an individual will experience lengthy periods of depression.

Depending on the mood disorder diagnosed by a mental health professional—bipolar disorder ordepression—different individuals will experience varying symptoms. That being said, a general set of symptoms can still be established:

  • Manic and/or depressive behavior
  • Disorganized or fragmented forms of thinking
  • Issues with maintaining personal appearance and hygiene
  • Impaired social, professional, and academic functionality
  • Hallucination or delusions

If you, like Julie, have experienced the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, what are your options for treatment?

Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment: What are Your Options?

Here at Bridges to Recovery we believe in providing every individual with a treatment plan that is specifically designed for their unique needs. We use a broad range of evidence-based individual and group therapies to fully support our clients as they work towards personal growth and healthier lives.

If you or someone you love is in need of schizoaffective disorder treatment, look no further. Bridges to Recovery has the experience you need to get yourself established on the best treatment path.

Some of the treatments practiced at our luxury residential facilities include:

Do I Have Schizoaffective Disorder?

This might seem like a strange question for someone who has never had any experiences with a mental disorder to ask; however, it is exactly the type of question that we understand.

Maybe you have started to experience different behavioral patterns or ways of thinking that are concerning to you? It could be quite possible that you have been experiencing these things for years without completely understanding the reason behind them. That is a perfectly normal course for this disorder to take. We are here to help you understand your unique experiences and help you move past uncertainty with an action plan.

If you or someone you love has been experiencing difficulties in everyday life due to known or potential schizoaffective disorder, please contact us today. Great strides have been made and continue to be made in understanding and treating schizoaffective disorder and related mood disorders. We empathize with the fact that many people reading this have experienced countless misunderstandings, potential misdiagnoses, and treatment plans and medications that simply didn’t work on their path to mental clarity. At Bridges to Recovery, we won’t stop short on the journey to finding the treatment plan that works best for you. Our commitment to you is a promise, and we hope you’ll give us the opportunity to help you live the wonderful life you deserve.