What are the Different Types of Schizoaffective Disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health illness that affects thoughts, emotions, and actions. Those with schizoaffective disorder often experience episodes that are both psychotic and bipolar, which is why many times it is mistakenly diagnosed as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
A person with schizoaffective disorder may experience delusions and/or hallucinations as well as depression and/or mania. Women and men experience schizoaffective disorder at the same rate, yet men usually develop the condition at an earlier stage (1).
To diagnose someone with schizoaffective disorder, the person must experience uninterrupted illness and, at some point, an episode of mania, major depression, or a mix of both, while also presenting signs of schizophrenia (2).
The exact cause of schizoaffective disorder remains unknown. Research has shown that there is a chemical imbalance involved and that schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder share the same genes. People with schizoaffective disorder may have family members who have been diagnosed with any of these conditions (3).
However, there are three major types of schizoaffective disorder:
Bipolar or mixed type
In this type, people present both psychotic and manic symptoms in one episode. During this period there is evidence of a major mood disorder, either depression or mania. Bipolar type schizoaffective disorder symptoms may include:
- Feeling constantly sad and fatigued
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide
- Hearing or seeing things
- Sudden changes in speech
In this case, people show symptoms of schizophrenia and depression at the same time when they are unwell. Depression goes beyond being sad, most people lose their motivation, concentration, and see noticeable changes in their sleep and eating patterns. Those who suffer from a depression type schizoaffective disorder often notice:
- Agitation (being very restless)
- Inability to concentrate
- Inappropriate emotional reactions
- Bizarre thinking
- Confusing thoughts
In this diagnosis, people suffer from symptoms of schizophrenia and mania at the same time. Most people affected by this disorder often feel ‘high’ since they have a sense of extreme physical and mental well-being, excessive energy, and elation of mood. A manic type schizoaffective disorder person may be:
- Compulsively talkative
- Extremely agitated
- Susceptible to buying sprees
- Experiencing drastic mood changes
- Suffering from sleeplessness