How to Diagnose Schizoaffective Disorder

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: July 1, 2018
How to Diagnose Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a disease that is characterized by the presence of characteristic symptoms of psychosis and altered mood. Generally, this disorder usually has its onset in adulthood, although it can also occur in adolescence. There are several treatments for this disorder, and depending on the individual case, the use of antipsychotic drugs, anxiolytics and antidepressants, among others may be prescribed. Psychotherapy can also be recommended to accompany medical treatment. Below, we present how to recognise schizoaffective disorder.

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Steps to follow:


Symptoms. Over a continuous period of time, the person experiences some psychotic symptoms together with the onset of a major depressive episode, manic episode or mixed episode. During the period that the disorder lasts, the person in question experiences delusions and hallucinations, over the course of at least 2 weeks, in the absence of any major emotional symptoms.


Psychotic symptoms. If, during at least one month, the person experiences any of the following symptoms: delusions (usually paranoid delusions), hallucinations (often auditory), disorganized speech (the language is inconsistent) or disorganized behavior. The person experiences a deterioration in their perception of reality, affecting them in many ways.


Emotional symptoms. During the period that a schizoaffective disorder lasts, a major depressive episode, manic or mixed episode occurs. In the case of a major depressive episode, it must last at least two weeks. With mixed and manic episodes, they must last at least 1 week.


Onset and duration. This disorder usually begins in adulthood and tends to last for at least 6 months. Psychotic symptoms usually occur during the first 2 months. During the following 3 months, emotional symptoms are combined with psychotic symptoms, and then in the last month, psychotic symptoms occur again.


Subtypes. Within schizoaffective disorder, there are two subtypes which are determined by the predominant affective disorder. There is either the bipolar type, when a manic or mixed episode occurs, or the depressive type, when a mood disorder coincides with a major depressive episode.


Daily life. A person who goes through a schizoaffective disorder experiences a deterioration in their work, social and family life. It is common for a person to begin finding it difficult to care for themselves. They gradually begin to isolate themselves and their performance at work suffers. It is also important to note that there is an increased risk of suicide.


Treatment. Firstly, it is of paramount importance that a specialist doctor is consulted for a proper diagnosis. Treatment usually involves the use of certain medications to treat symptoms, such as: antipsychotics, antidepressants and anxiolytics, among others. At the same time, psychotherapy is recommended to accompany and complement any prescribed medication.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Diagnose Schizoaffective Disorder, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.


  • If you think someone displays the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, consult a specialist.
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How to Diagnose Schizoaffective Disorder