Understanding the Differences Between Schizoaffective Disorder and Schizophrenia
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Have you ever heard of schizophrenia? Most likely, you have, but there is a good chance you have not heard of schizoaffective disorder. Many individuals often confuse these two mental disorders as being the same due to stigmas and lack of mental health education in schools. While they may sound similar, these disorders have distinguishing features. By understanding them, more people can get the help they need, and we can erase stigmas.
Those who struggle with schizoaffective disorder have a mental illness that causes them to have hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, and mood disorder symptoms. The presence of mood disorder symptoms is what distinguishes schizoaffective disorder from schizophrenia, as mood disorders are necessary to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
There are two types of schizoaffective disorder, including the bipolar type and depressive type. Bipolar type is characterized by episodes of mania with occasional periods of major depression. The depressive type only includes major depressive episodes. However, it is essential to understand that this disorder will affect each individual differently. Symptoms may differ as well as how severely it affects the person’s life.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia has many similar symptoms of schizoaffective disorder without the mixture of mood disorder symptoms. There are no episodes of mania or major depressive episodes like those that are diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. It is also classified as chronic while developing schizoaffective disorder has episodes of psychotic symptoms. Often those with schizophrenia are more out of touch with reality and have difficulty interacting with others because of their symptoms.
Schizoaffective disorder vs Schizophrenia Treatments
Both mental disorders are often treated with antipsychotic medications to help patients manage their hallucinations and delusions. However, schizoaffective disorder is typically treated with a mood stabilizer as well to help patients with their other symptoms.
Talk therapy can also be used to help patients heal. If patients also struggle with substance abuse, dual diagnosis care can be a highly effective treatment.