Is Schizoaffective Disorder Bipolar Type a Disability?
Bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder isn’t classified as a disability outright since symptoms can be treated by medication and therapy. However, you may qualify for disability benefits if the condition severely limits your ability to work or earn a living.
Causes of Bipolar-Type Schizoaffective Disorder
The exact causes of bipolar schizoaffective disorder are yet to be established. However, the likelihood of developing the condition can increase due to environmental and genetic factors.
Close genetic relationships contribute to schizoaffective disorder among families. For example, you’re more likely to develop schizoaffective disorder if you have parents or siblings diagnosed with the condition.
Changes in a fetus’s brain chemistry due to a mother’s exposure to toxins during pregnancy can raise the chances of the child exhibiting symptoms of schizoaffective disorder later in life. Adults can also experience chemical imbalances from substance abuse and medication, increasing the likelihood of showing signs of bipolar-type schizoaffective disorder.
Additionally, environmental factors such as childhood trauma, abuse and stressful events can contribute to developing schizoaffective disorder.
How Serious Is Schizoaffective Disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is considered a severe mental illness due to the mixture of signs of mood disorders and the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. While the condition affects an equal number of men and women, symptoms occur earlier in men.
If left untreated, schizoaffective disorders can cause:
- Self-isolation as distorted thinking and mood disorder symptoms intensify
- Loss of employment, leading to debt and homelessness
- Health problems caused by low appetite and loss of sleep due to psychotic symptoms
- Substance abuse problems that contribute to legal issues
- Self-harm, suicidal thoughts and attempts
Statistics show that 1 in 20 people who experience untreated psychotic symptoms will complete suicide. Thus, it’s essential to get professional help to manage psychotic symptoms of schizoaffective disorder and stabilize your mood. Participating in psychotherapy can help you learn better ways of coping with future occurrences of symptoms. A therapist will also help you rebuild your social and professional life.
How Long Do Schizoaffective Episodes Last?
The diagnostic criteria for the different types of schizoaffective disorders demand that symptoms last for at least a month. The major psychotic symptoms of hallucinations and delusions must last at least 2 weeks each. Additionally, the depressive or manic symptoms for the mood disorder portion of the condition should go uninterrupted for a few weeks.
Considering that the diagnostic criteria outline the minimum requirement for diagnosis, schizoaffective disorder episodes can last for weeks or even months.
As a result, your personal, social and professional life will suffer. Moreover, since you’re not entirely controlling your actions, you may experience imminent physical danger due to accidents, self-harm or destructive behavior such as drug abuse.