Understanding Schizoaffective Disorder vs Schizophrenia
Schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia might have certain common points, but these are two different types of mental illness, all together.
Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by two different conditions, between which one is schizophrenia. The other major mental condition for schizoaffective disorder can be either bipolar disorder or any type of major depression.
Schizophrenia is described as a type of brain disorder, which affects the emotional status of the person. The person affected with schizophrenia has difficulty in perceiving reality causing abnormality in the thought process as well as the actions.
Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia
A person suffering from schizoaffective disorder will experience certain symptoms like hallucination, delusions and abnormal thinking, which are also same for schizophrenia. However, the person can also face severe mood change and depression, which is not present for schizophrenic patients. The other major symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include appetite loss, loss of body weight, agitation, feeling of worthlessness, thoughts of suicide etc.
The main symptom of Schizophrenia is hallucinations, but it is not related to any type of depression.
Causes behind schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia
Exact causes behind schizoaffective disorder is not known, however it could be inherited or can be a combination of chronic stages of schizophrenia and depression. However, causes behind schizophrenia are usually genetic, chemical and abnormalities in brain.
Since both of these mental illnesses have almost same type of symptoms, it is very challenging to diagnose the exact disease. The patient of schizoaffective disorder often feels difficulty in adjusting to normal and regular life style in school or office or at any social gathering. Symptoms of this disease can be mild or severe and can last for any duration. Patients with this mental sickness experience periodic episode of mild or severe symptoms. There is as such no specific diagnostic test to find out whether a person is affected with schizoaffective disorder or not. Psychiatrists use special kind of assessment tools for evaluation of the exact situation. Patients are kept under regular attention to notice their change in behavioral status. The diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder is confirmed only when the patient experiences a combination of both problems – schizophrenia, mania or major depression.
Treatment of schizoaffective disorder is performed through medication, psychotherapy and skills training. As mentioned earlier, there is no complete cure from this illness, however much relief can be provided to the patients by controlling the symptoms and applying certain effective skills. Medication associated to schizophrenia, are also used to take care of the schizophrenic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, unorganized thought process etc. Medication can also control the depressive mood and can reduce the extremity of depression. In severe situation, patient might require hospitalization to provide adequate medical support. Prevention of schizoaffective disorder is also not possible, but if it is diagnosed at an earlier stage, much relief can be provided to the patients.
However, there are several developments being worked on to find out effective treatment for schizoaffective disorder. Clinical trials on schizoaffective disorder are also producing positive results for the patients. Some of the links for clinical trials on schizoaffective disorder are given here.