Patients who show concurrent symptoms of both mood disorders (bipolar or depressive types) and psychotic disorder are given the diagnosis of schizo-affective disorder. Onset is usually during young adulthood. The chronic symptoms are typically fewer and less severe than among those patients with schizophrenia.
Schizoaffective disorder may result from a combination of physiologic and psychological causes. The specific cause is unknown.
Signs and symptoms
The patient must show clear symptoms of schizophrenia. During both the active and residual phases of the illness, symptoms of mood disturbance must also occur. These symptoms may not be caused by substance abuse or by a medical condition. Patients may experience difficulty functioning in the workplace. They have a restricted range of social contacts and may also have difficulty performing self-care.
According to the classification found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition – Text Revision, a schizoaffective disorder is diagnosed if the patient’s symptoms meet the following criteria:
The patient experiences a period of uninterrupted illness in which there’s a
major depressive episode (with depressed mood), a manic episode, or a mixed episode, concurrent with symptoms of schizophrenia.
During the same period of illness, the patient experiences delusions or hallucinations for at least 2 weeks, without prominent mood symptoms.
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