While most people are familiar with schizophrenia and mood disorders like depression, they might not know that the symptoms of these conditions can collide to produce schizoaffective disorder. Thought to affect less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, schizoaffective disorder shares features with both schizophrenia and mood disorders but is recognized as a distinct diagnosis by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Unfortunately, many with schizoaffective disorder are often misdiagnosed as either being schizophrenic or bipolar, but the clinical team at Alta Loma can identify the subtleties of this condition to help clients better manage their symptoms and improve their mental wellness.

What is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental health condition with overlapping symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions or hallucinations, and mood disorders, such as manic or depressive episodes. Much like there are different types of bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder can be characterized as either bipolar or depressive, depending on which symptoms individuals experience.

  • Bipolar type schizoaffective disorder: Includes alternating episodes of mania (“highs”) and major depression (“lows”)
  • Depressive type schizoaffective disorder: Includes episodes of major depression

Although the symptoms can vary, schizoaffective disorder can cause problems in daily life and interfere with work, school and relationships. Left untreated, schizoaffective disorder can increase the risk of substance abuse, worsening episodes, and a decreased ability to function normally. Those with the condition may need extra support to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life, but finding proper care can be challenging. That’s why Alta Loma provides premier mental health services for men who are dealing with schizoaffective disorder and other psychiatric conditions. We know that with the right approach, recovery is possible.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder includes symptoms of psychosis, such as a loss of touch with reality, along with episodes of mania or depression. Symptoms can appear separately or together and often come in cycles but may differ depending on which type of schizoaffective disorder a person has. Some of the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include the following:

  • Delusions (false beliefs, paranoia, misinterpretations of reality, etc.)
  • Hallucinations (hearing voices, seeing things that aren’t there, etc.)
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Speech and communication problems
  • Depressed mood
  • Manic episodes (euphoria, racing thoughts, risky behavior)
  • Increased risk of substance abuse and suicidal thoughts

The condition usually develops in the late teens or early adulthood, but at first, it is often misdiagnosed as either bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. It can also be harder to detect in those with an autism spectrum disorder since some of the symptoms are similar (e.g., communication problems, mood swings, fixating) and may overlap. Like other mental illnesses, schizoaffective disorder won’t go away on its own, so a proper diagnosis is key to minimizing symptoms and developing an effective treatment plan. For most people, this usually consists of combining medications, psychotherapy and improved self-management strategies for the best possible outcome.

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Schizoaffective Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Research has shown that both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share genetic risk factors with autism spectrum disorders, so it’s no surprise that the same is true for schizoaffective disorder. Compared to the general population, those with autism spectrum disorders are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and/or a mood disorder, and recognizing a co-occurrence of these conditions is crucial to providing the right support.

Alta Loma is well-equipped to help patients with schizoaffective disorder and a co-occurring autism spectrum disorder. Each of these disorders is complex on its own but presents unique challenges when combined. Our individualized treatment plans, highly trained clinical team, and multi-faceted approach can help clients with co-occurring disorders overcome these challenges with long-term strategies for symptom management that promote a life of recovery, balance, and stability.

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Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment at Alta Loma

At Alta Loma, we provide transformational mental health services for men of all ages with schizoaffective disorder and other psychiatric conditions, including co-occurring substance abuse or autism. With a highly trained clinical team and a specialized approach that exceeds industry standards, we’re well-equipped to help those with severe diagnoses find hope, healing, and a life of recovery with improved long-term outcomes. Some of the strategies we use include:

We know that the most effective treatment plans go beyond symptom management and encompass the full scope of each client’s physical, emotional and mental health needs, so we integrate a range of effective therapies for truly comprehensive care. Schizoaffective disorder can affect every aspect of a person’s life, and our goal is to help clients achieve a renewed sense of mental wellness and develop the skills they’ll need to stay happy, healthy, and successful long after treatment.

Contact Alta Loma

Healing on Your Terms

Schizoaffective disorder and co-occurring conditions like substance abuse can be difficult to manage, but you don’t have to do it alone. Alta Loma in Georgetown, Texas, provides transformational mental health services that can help you or a loved one develop new strategies for healthy living and improved symptom management. To learn more about our programs, contact or call us today at (866) 457-3843.