What is the difference between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder? Schizoaffective disorder is closely related to the schizophrenia spectrum of mental health disorders, but it also has a number of similarities with bipolar disorder and therefore falls somewhere in the middle.
What is the difference between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder?
In order to understand the difference between schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia, we have to look at each illness in more detail as there are many similarities as well as some marked differences between the two.
Schizophrenia is a very common mental health condition that causes a number of symptoms, including delusional behavior, hallucinations, and behavioral changes. It is classed as a psychotic illness because sufferers hear and see things that are not real: the person might think that there are voices inside their head or they become paranoid that other people are plotting against them.
Schizophrenia is a long term mental illness and unlike bipolar disorder, the symptoms do not come and go. Patients with schizophrenia can have real problems in maintaining close relationships, taking care of themselves, and holding down a job, and the level of disturbance to the person’s life is one of the criteria used to make a firm diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Schizoaffective disorder has many features seen in schizophrenic patients, including hallucinations, distorted thoughts and delusions, but unlike schizophrenia, a patient with schizoaffective disorder will also exhibit the symptoms of depression and mania, which is why the illness is closely linked to bipolar disorder.
What are the similarities between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder?
Both illnesses cause psychotic behavior, including hallucinations, confused thought patterns, and delusional behavior, which can cause major disturbances in every part of the affected person’s life.
What are the differences between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder?
The main difference is the presence of symptoms relating to a mood disorder seen in patients suffering from schizoaffective disorder. Schizophrenic patients do not normally suffer from severe depressive and manic episodes, although they are prone to suicidal thoughts.
How are schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder diagnosed?
Schizoaffective disorder will be diagnosed when symptoms of schizophrenia are present in conjunction with a mood disorder. The patient must have had an episode of major depression or mania at the same time as suffering from the hallucinations, delusions, and confused patterns of thought. These symptoms should have been present for at least one month.
In order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, a patient must have exhibited the symptoms of the illness for at least six months and be showing a significant decline in their ability to work in gainful employment, take care of themselves, and conduct interpersonal relationships. There should be no evidence of a mood affective disorder and if any signs of mood disturbances are present, schizoaffective disorder will be diagnosed as opposed to schizophrenia.
Because of the similarities between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, many psychologists consider schizoaffective disorder to be a type of schizophrenia. However, others lean towards the belief that schizoaffective disorder is much more closely linked to mood disorders such as bipolar.