Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder
How Is Schizoaffective Disorder Treated?
Treatment for schizoaffective disorder typically involves medication to stabilize the mood and treat the psychotic symptoms. In addition, psychotherapy (a type of counseling) and skills training may be useful for improving interpersonal, social and coping skills.
: The choice of medication depends on the mood disorder associated with the illness. The primary medications used to treat the psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia, such as delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking, are called antipsychotics. All antipsychotic drugs likely have value in the treatment of schizoaffective disorder, although paliperidone extended release (Invega) is the only drug that currently has FDA approval specifically for the treatment of schizoaffective disorder. Mood-related symptoms may be treated with an antidepressant medication or a mood stabilizer such as lithium. These medications may or may not be used in combination with an antipsychotic medication.
: The goal of therapy is to help the patient learn about the illness, establish goals, and manage everyday problems related to the disorder. Family therapy can help families deal more effectively with a loved one who has schizoaffective disorder, enabling them to better help their loved one.
This generally focuses on work and social skills, grooming and hygiene, and other day-to-day activities, including money and home management.
: Most people with schizoaffective disorder are treated as outpatients. However, people with particularly severe symptoms, or those in danger of hurting themselves or others, may require hospitalization to stabilize their conditions.
What Is the Outlook for People With Schizoaffective Disorder?
There is no cure for schizoaffective disorder, but treatment has been shown to be effective in minimizing the symptoms, helping the person better cope with the disorder, and improve social functioning.
Can Schizoaffective Disorder Be Prevented?
There is no known way to prevent schizoaffective disorder. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help a person avoid or reduce frequent relapses and hospitalizations, and help decrease the disruption to the person's life, family and friendships.