- Mental Health
What is Schizoaffective Disorder?
Schizoaffective Disorder's symptoms are said to be compared to that of Schizophrenia. There are differences between then, yet they still have some symptoms that are the same and need different medications to keep the symptoms under control
Schizoaffective Disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, delusions along with other symptoms of mood disorders, mania, and depression.
Many people who have schizoaffective disorder are misdiagnosed many times due to the majority of studies directed to bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia itself.
Schizoaffective disorder is seen in 0.3% of our population Men and women experience schizoaffective disorder at the same rate, however, men often develop it at an an earlier age. Schizoaffective disorder is manageable through medication and therapy.
Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder
Some of the symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder are listed below but not limited to:
1. See things. This is also known as a "visual hallucination." For example, you might see insects crawling on your hand or on the face of someone you know. Hallucinations can vary as well. I have a family member that without his medications believes that he commit some type of crime, or violated another person in a variety of ways, when he did not. He is the most loving, kind and nurturing man I have ever met in my life and this disorder hurts him because it makes him feel like a bad person, it causes isolated and to be anti-social. Which is a horrible shame and a loss of a man who could otherwise be an awesome contribution to our society.
2.Smell things. The technical name for this is "olfactory hallucination." You may think the odor is coming from something around you, or that it's coming from your own body. People have thought they smelled fires or marijuana and it is nowhere near the area of the individual.
3.Taste things. These are called "gustatory hallucinations." You may feel that something you eat or drink has an odd taste.
4 Feel things. Doctors call this a "tactile hallucination." It might seem to you that you're being tickled even when no one else is around, or you may have a sense that insects are crawling on or under your skin. You might feel a blast of hot air on your face that isn't real.
There are no specific causes of schizoaffective disorder . A combination of causes may contribute to the development of schizoaffective disorder.
- Trauma to the Head or Brain Damage
- Genetics. Schizoaffective disorder tends to run in families. This does not mean that if a relative has an illness, you will absolutely get it. But it does mean that there is a greater chance of you developing the illness.
- Brain chemistry and structure. Brain function and structure may be different in ways that science is only beginning to understand. Brain scans are helping to advance research in this area.
- Stress. Stressful events such as a death in the family, end of a marriage or loss of a job can trigger symptoms or an onset of the illness.
- Drug use. Psychoactive drugs such as LSD have been linked to the development of schizoaffective disorder.
Do you think Schizoaffective Disorder Will Ever Be Fully Cured?
People With Schizoaffective Disorder Fear Many Things.
Treatments Are Available!
Doctors prescribe medciations along wiht thereapies and counseling that will help stabilize moods, depression and psychotic episodes. Patients respond very well to a combination of these treatments.
The only FDA Approved medication for Schizoaffective Disorder is Invega otherwise known as Palparidone. Invega may be taken orally or by injection. The injections start off every three wekks and if the patient responds well to the shot then the physician can up the does to every three months. The theory behind this is to not have to prescribe so many pills and have the patient worry about taking them all the time. This way they have scheduled appointments to get their injection.
Patients also receive antidepressants of which there are so many available the doctor would have to identify which medication would help the patient. Some of the named medications used are ; Lexapro, and Celexa.
As well as taking prescribed medications, Psychotherapy and talk therapy help normalize thought patterns as well as teach them social skills and reduce isolation.
Dealing with a loved on with this condition.
After being on their medication for a short period of time, there are points where a symptom or two make mildly come through. A loved one or supportive friend can and should help the patient work through the symptoms. There are many ways to help, one of them being music. Not loud, screaming, obnoxious music, but happy, pop-rock and meditation music. Talking about their symptoms and reassuring them the things they think are happening or that they seeing, but aren't really there, are not. Just talking helps so much. A back rub to relieve stresses that may cause more issues is a great idea as well. If however things do not ease up and get worse rather than better, it is appropriate to call for help. You can call the doctor or go to the office and tell him/her what the situation is and they might have some other ideas or they may try a different medication.