Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness where an individual suffering from it experiences the symptoms of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder. Hallucinations, delusions, mania, depression and flaring tempers are the key symptoms of a schizoaffective disorder. It is these clashing symptoms that have researchers disagreeing on what exactly is a schizoaffective disorder. Some researchers and experts regard the disorder as schizophrenia coupled with mood disorder symptoms, while the others think of it as a separate disease with symptoms and treatments of its own. People suffering from a schizoaffective disorder will have to seek out the help of a doctor or a psychiatrist. Untreated people may lead isolated lives and will find it challenging to hang on to a job, study or pursue their dreams. Also, people down with this disorder may be unaware of the same or will not be willing to seek out help.
Signs And Symptoms Of A Schizoaffective Disorder
- An individual suffering from a schizoaffective disorder will be plagued with peculiar and unusual thoughts. The individual’s perceptions of what is real and what is not will be affected too.
- Constant paranoia will grip a person suffering from a schizoaffective disorder. To the people around the affected individual, the individual’s paranoia will seem extremely absurd. For example, the ‘patient’ may fear stepping out of his/her home, will hesitate to enter a particular room in his/her house or will just have a random sense of being constantly persecuted.
- Hallucination is one of the most common and obvious symptoms of a schizoaffective disorder. The patient may see, feel, hear, talk to or taste things that are not fathomable to an ‘unaffected’ individual. The patient may hear music when there is none at all. He/she will see visual ‘mirages’ of ghosts, demons and monsters. The patient will also randomly burst into conversations to an imaginary being. The hallucinations will peak at bizarre heights when the patient is intoxicated.
- The affected individual will suffer from a host of delusions or untrue beliefs. The individual will be obsessed with his/her ideas and beliefs, and will also go to aggressive extents to reason out with others the same. It may even be a Herculean task to destroy the false and irrational beliefs of the affected individual.
- A patient of a schizoaffective disorder, without the question of doubt, will go through short or prolonged phases of depression.
- The patient may be extremely irritable and will also find it tough to control his/her temper. He/she will get angry at the slightest of issues and may have no qualms about making it known.
- The patient will be plagued with constant thoughts of suicide. Apart from suicidal tendencies, the patient may also have thoughts of homicide or killing another individual.
- Drastic changes in energy levels and an increase or decrease in appetite will be noticed.
- A schizoaffective disorder can take a toll on the sleep patterns of an individual. The affected individual will face difficulties in falling asleep and even staying asleep.
- The patient will not be able to speak like a normal person. The patient will either stutter or stammer or will be exceptionally irrelevant when speaking.
- The patient will have an abnormally shot span of attention and will also suffer from a weak or weakened memory. The patient will be plagued with unclear thoughts. What may seem absolutely coherent to a normal individual may seem absurd to the patient and vice-versa.
- Lastly, the patient may or will lose all interest in maintaining his/her hygiene or physical appearance. The patient may not even see the point in taking a shower, dressing up or looking presentable.