Getting treatment for schizoaffective disorder
Schizoaffective disorder is a common mental health problem that includes symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions. If you have schizoaffective disorder, you may also have mood disorder symptoms, like feeling extreme lows, as you would with depression. Because it shares similar symptoms with other types of disorders, schizoaffective disorder is often misdiagnosed.
Treatment for schizoaffective disorder begins with effective treatment and a safe, qualified place receive help. At Renewed Light in West Deptford, New Jersey, we provide schizoaffective disorder treatments that fit individual needs.
Differences between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder
Although their prefixes are the same, the disorders of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are different.
Schizophrenia presents with “psychosis,” meaning that the person’s psychological and emotional impairment is so severe they lose touch with reality. People with schizophrenia have a hard time telling the difference between what’s real and what’s not. They also tend to hear voices that don’t exist.
On the other hand, a schizoaffective disorder makes people feel detached from the real world and often see and hear things that aren’t real. Mood is also a prominent part of schizoaffective disorder.
Even though these mental conditions share similar symptoms, they require different treatments. Once a professional has a chance to observe your symptoms, we can begin a helpful treatment for schizoaffective disorder.
How we diagnose schizoaffective disorder
Diagnosing schizoaffective disorder is not easy. However, a few key symptoms and factors help mental health professionals determine whether schizoaffective disorder is present. For example, when considering your condition, they may consider these questions:
- Is there a time when there is a succinct mood disorder present like mania or depression? And does this happen simultaneously with symptoms of schizophrenia?
- Do you have hallucinations for a period of two or more weeks without a major mood episode?
- Are your symptoms independent of any drug misuse disorder?
Diagnosis schizoaffective disorder then involves:
First, a physical is performed to make sure that other problems are not causing symptoms.
Indeed, screenings like CT scans and MRIs are performed to rule out conditions with similar symptoms.
- Psychiatric Evaluations
A doctor will observe your demeanor and your mood. They will also ask about delusions and thoughts and will make note of any family mental health history.
A diagnosis will be made according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.
What causes a schizoaffective disorder?
A variety factors may contribute to schizoaffective disorder, including:
- Biology. Schizoaffective disorder may be genetic. It is possible to be passed down from generation to generation.
- Brain Chemistry. In many cases, people with this condition have chemical imbalances in their brains.
- Brain Structure. Schizoaffective disorder may be linked to brain abnormalities in the thalamus or hippocampus.
Treatments for schizoaffective disorder
Once you’re diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, there are effective treatment options available to you. Treatment for schizoaffective disorder often includes medication as well as therapy to help you successfully manage symptoms and cultivate long-term healthy behaviors and ways of thinking.
Many medications can be used to relieve psychotic symptoms of a schizoaffective disorder. These may help to improve your mood and lower depression as well. Your doctor will work you to ensure a safe medication management program that works best for your needs.
- Antidepressants. If depression is your major underlying mood disorder, antidepressants can help overcome feelings of hopelessness.
- Mood Stabilizers. If a bipolar disorder is causing manic highs and depressive lows, these drugs can be an effective part of a schizoaffective disorder treatment plan.
- Antipsychotics. The only medicine approved by the Food and Drug Administration to be part of a schizoaffective disorder treatment plan is paliperidone, an antipsychotic. However, it is possible for you to be prescribed other antipsychotic drugs to manage hallucinations.
Certainly, therapy plays an important role in schizoaffective disorder treatment.
- Individual Therapy. Meeting with a therapist one-on-one helps normalize thought patterns and minimize symptoms. Having a trusted relationship with a therapist can help you comprehend your disorder and learn ways to manage it. Coping mechanisms are discussed throughout individual therapy sessions for schizoaffective disorder.
- Family/group therapy. Being able to discuss real problems with others in a supportive environment is key to successful schizoaffective disorder treatment. Group therapy may also lower feelings of social isolation. Moreover, combining these therapies with medication makes it possible for you to develop improved social skills.
Explore schizoaffective disorder treatment options in New Jersey
Being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder is the first step in getting help. At Renewed Light we offer a variety of schizoaffective disorder treatments so you can learn how to cope, minimize symptoms, improve social function, and live a more fulfilling life. Our experienced and caring staff is here to help.
If you suffer from a mental health disorder, you’re not alone. More than 50 percent of Americans will get diagnosed with a behavioral health disorder during their lifetime. Fortunately, Renewed Light offers a range of therapy options and programs that can help you take back your life. Located in West Deptford, New Jersey, we serve all of New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania.