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Schizoaffective Disorder Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

By: Juliet Cohen

Most people with this illness have periodic episodes, called relapses, when their symptoms surface. Many individuals with schizoaffective disorder are originally diagnosed with manic depression. Schizoaffective disorder is more common in women than in men. Men with schizoaffective disorder tend to exhibit antisocial traits and behavior in contrast to other personality traits. In addition, the age of onset is later for women than for men, and the exact etiology and epidemiology is unclear because of limited research in this area. Estimates of the prevalence of schizoaffective disorder vary widely, but schizoaffective manic patients appear to comprise 3-5% of psychiatric admissions to typical clinical centers. At one point it was widely believed that schizoaffective disorder was associated with increased risk of mood disorders in relatives. This may have been because of the number of patients with psychotic mood disorders who were included in schizoaffective study populations. the cause may be similar to schizophrenia nature versus nurture. Environmental causes of malnutrition, viral infections, or complication at birth may play a role. Abnormalities of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and/or dopamine could all have a role in this disorder.

Causes of Schizoaffective Disorder

Common Causes and Risk factors of Schizoaffective Disorder

Genetics (heredity)

Brain chemistry ( Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters).

Environmental/psychological factors.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

Sign and Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

Paranoid thoughts and ideas.



Unclear or confused thoughts.

Bouts of depression.

Thoughts of suicide or homicide.

Deficits in attention and memory.

Lack of concern about hygiene and physical appearance.

Changes in energy and appetite.

Treatment of Schizoaffective Disorder

Common Treatment of Schizoaffective Disorder

Older (tricyclic) antidepressants often worsen schizoaffective disorder. Benzodiazepines (e.g., lorazepam, clonazepam) often can dramatically reduce the agitation and anxiety of schizoaffective patients.

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been used effectively in small percentage of schizoaffective patients, particularly those of the catatonic subtype. Patients with an illness duration of less than 1 year are most responsive. This therapy offers little hope for lasting improvement in chronic schizoaffective patients.

Group therapy, combined with drugs, produces somewhat better results than drug treatment alone, particularly with schizoaffective outpatients. This supportive group therapy can be especially helpful in decreasing social isolation and increasing reality testing.

Family therapy can significantly decrease relapse rates for the schizoaffective family member. In high-stress families, schizophenic patients given standard aftercare relapse 50-60% of the time in the first year out of hospital. Supportive family therapy can reduce this relapse rate to below 10 percent. Self-Help groups in which family members of schizoaffective patients discuss and share issues, have been particularly helpful in this regard.

Behavior therapy in hospital often involves rewarding desired behaviors with specific privileges, such as ground privileges or weekend passes.

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About The Author, Juliet Cohen

Juliet Cohen writes articles on diseases and conditions and skin disorders. She also writes articles on herbal home remedies.

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