schizoaffective disorder

Do you or a loved one have schizoaffective disorder? It can be hard to tell; the symptoms of this mental health condition often present as a blend between schizophrenia symptoms and signs of mood disorders. As you can imagine, this leads to seemingly erratic behavior that individuals may struggle to categorize.

But as proud providers of mental health treatment near Orlando, Florida, it’s our job to share information about signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder. Read on to read more about this mental health condition, its symptoms, and the treatment options that we provide at The Blackberry Center of St. Cloud, Florida.

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Among mental health professionals, schizoaffective disorder is known to present with symptoms of both schizophrenia and mood disorders. Most commonly this means a combination of symptoms from both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This is categorized as bipolar type schizoaffective disorder, which means that people experience both depressive and manic episodes. In this way, individuals with this mental illness feel the compounded struggles of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

However, there is another common type of schizoaffective disorder: depressive type. In this case, individuals suffer from the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia as well as the depressed moods that come with major depressive disorder. Unlike with bipolar type, those living with depressive type schizoaffective disorder do not experience highs and lows, but live with long periods of intense depression.

Bear in mind that, in order to be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, you must experience these feelings for a period of several months. Generally, individuals will undergo a major mood episode (bipolar or depressive, depending on their type) for a period of several weeks, then experience schizophrenia symptoms even after this episode subsides.

But how do you know if you’re experiencing a major mood episode or signs of schizophrenia? Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms that lead to a schizoaffective diagnosis.

Contact us today to take your first step towards recovery.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

As we’ve established, people with schizoaffective disorder usually fall into one of two types. But what do those symptoms look like in real life? And how can you know if you’re experiencing the psychosis symptoms of schizophrenia? Look below to find an in-depth look at the signs and behaviors that point to schizoaffective disorder.

Bipolar Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

For people with the bipolar type of this mental health condition, their symptoms often mimic those of bipolar disorder. You now know that these symptoms include emotional highs (manic episodes) and lows (depressive episodes), but let’s take a look at what the day-to-day symptoms look like:

    • Increased energy, to the point you may feel like you don’t need sleep
    • Euphoria that may or may not match your circumstances
    • Engaging in risky, unsafe behaviors because you feel invulnerable
    • A break from reality, wherein you believe or sense things that are not real
    • Constant tiredness that does not go away with sleep
    • Feelings of sadness or misery
    • An urge to self-harm or commit suicide

    Each of these symptoms may last for a period of weeks, then shift to feelings on the opposite end of the emotional spectrum (for example, going from euphoric to depressed in a matter of days).

    Schizophrenic Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

    The symptoms of psychosis set schizoaffective disorder apart from the affective disorders described above. Whereas the other symptoms may come and go, these symptoms should be nearly constant in an individual with this mental health condition. Schizophrenia symptoms include:

    • False beliefs called delusions, e.g. that your friends secretly hate you or that your parents want to kill you
    • Hallucinations, or seeing/hearing/feeling things that are not there
    • Difficulty holding work or staying enrolled in school
    • Problems with personal hygiene or taking care of yourself
    • Difficulty communicating with people; not being understood by those around you

    By combining these symptoms with the signs and symptoms from depressive or bipolar type schizoaffective disorder, you may be able to determine what mental health condition you are facing. However, bear in mind that the process of diagnosis schizoaffective disorder is tricky and should be left to mental health professionals.

    But if you suspect that you or a loved one has this disorder, you should seek professional mental health treatment immediately. The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can worsen when left untreated, which could endanger your physical and mental health.

    How Do Professionals Treat This Mental Health Condition?

    At The Blackberry Center, we employ several evidence-based therapeutic strategies to treat schizoaffective disorder. Each of these treatment methods has been clinically shown to help individuals in their long-term recovery from this mental illness. Let’s take a look at the kind of help you may need for your schizoaffective disorder:


    symptoms of schizoaffective

    Medication management:

    Sometimes, certain medications can minimize or eliminate schizoaffective symptoms. This could include antipsychotic medicaitons, antidepressants, or mood stabilizers. Each of these treats a different part of this condition, whether that be depression, manic episodes, or psychotic symptoms. At our mental health facility near Orlando, Florida, our physicians will evaluate your current state of wellness to determine which, if any, of these medications can help you.

    Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

    In this individual therapy, you and a mental health professional will discuss your life experiences and your thought processes. Through this discussion, you will learn new, constructive thought patterns that can mitigate some symptoms of schizoaffective disorder. For example, instead of thinking, “I am unworthy of love,” you will create new thought patterns like, “I am doing my best and that is good enough.” This can affect every facet of your life, which is why CBT is a cornerstone of long-term mental health recovery.

    Group therapy:

    Many individuals with mental illness feel compltely alone. To this end, we provide group therapy where you can meet with other people suffering from mental illness to share your experiences. In this way, you will be able to lean on a community of people who can understand and support you through your recovery.

    Dual diagnosis programming:

    Oftentimes, people living with this mental health condition require treatment for addiction as well. Because coping with schizoaffective disorder can be hard, many people turn to alcohol or drug abuse to manage their feelings. This can worsen a co-occurring mental health issue, and that’s why cases like this require dual diagnosis treatment. This program simultaneously treats addiction and mental health issues, allowing you to move on from both of them. In some cases, you may require a medical detox program before enrolling in dual diagnosis care.

    As a psychotic disorder, schizoaffective disorder requires rigorous treatment from mental health professionals. If you are near Orlando, Florida, our mental health center can help you recover from schizoaffective disorder.

    Do you have questions about our mental health care? You can reach our admissions specialists at 1-888-512-9802 or fill out our confidential contact form. If you think that you or a loved one are living with schizoaffective disorder, the best time to seek help is right this minute.


    1. Ellis, M. “Affective Disorders.” April 01, 2020. Accessed May 06, 2020.
    2. Evans, J. D., Heaton, R. K., Paulsen, J. S., McAdams, L. A., Heaton, S. C., & Jeste, D. V. (1999). Schizoaffective disorder: A form of schizophrenia or affective disorder? The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60(12), 874–882.
    3. The Mayo Clinic. “Depression (major depressive disorder).” February 03, 2018. Accessed May 06, 2020.
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