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    What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

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    Someone with schizoaffective disorder has schizophrenia plus either major depression or bipolar disorder.

    Schizophrenia  is a brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others. 

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    Depression  is an illness that is marked by feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or hopelessness, as well as problems concentrating and remembering details. 

    Bipolar disorder  includes cycling mood changes, such as severe highs (mania) and lows (depression).

    Schizoaffective disorder can affect all of your life, including work or school, family, friends, and other relationships. Most people who have it go through times called relapses, when their symptoms surface.

    Although there is no cure, there are treatments that can manage symptoms.

    Symptoms

    The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may vary greatly from one person to the next and may be mild or severe. They may include:

    Depression

    • Poor appetite
    • Weight loss or gain
    • Changes in sleeping patterns (sleeping very little or a lot)
    • Agitation (being very restless)
    • Lack of energy
    • Loss of interest in usual activities
    • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
    • Guilt or self-blame
    • Trouble with thinking or concentration
    • Thoughts of death or suicide

    Mania

    • Being more active than usual, including at work, in your social life, or sexually
    • Talking more or faster
    • Rapid or racing thoughts
    • Little need for sleep
    • Agitation
    • Being full of yourself
    • Being easily distracted
    • Self-destructive or dangerous behavior (such as going on spending sprees, driving recklessly, or having risky sex)

    Schizophrenia

    • Delusions (strange beliefs that the person refuses to give up, even when they get the facts)
    • Hallucinations (sensing things that aren't real, such as hearing voices)
    • Disorganized thinking
    • Odd or unusual behavior
    • Slow movements or not moving at all
    • Lack of emotion in facial expression and speech
    • Poor motivation
    • Problems with speech and communication

    Causes

    Scientists don’t know the exact cause of schizoaffective disorder. Things that may be involved include:

    Genetics (heredity): Someone may inherit a tendency to develop schizoaffective disorder from their parents.

    Brain  structure and function: People with schizophrenia and mood disorders may have problems with brain circuits that manage mood and thinking.

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