Schizoaffective Disorder (cont.)

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What are causes and risk factors for schizoaffective disorder?

As with the vast majority of mental disorders, there is not thought to be a specific cause for schizoaffective disorder. Two-thirds of people who develop the illness are women. An immediate family history of schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia is a risk factor for developing schizoaffective disorder. Developing schizoaffective disorder or another psychotic illness is more than twice as likely in children who suffer significant adversity like bullying, abuse, neglect, or parental death during that time of their lives.

What are schizoaffective disorder symptoms and signs?

The symptoms and signs of schizoaffective disorder include those of schizophrenia combined with major depressive disorder and/or a manic episode. Symptoms of schizophrenia may include the following:

  • Hallucinations, like hearing voices, seeing, feeling, tasting, or smelling things that are not there
  • Delusions are ways of thinking with no basis in reality. Types of delusions include paranoid/persecutory, religious, erotic, grandiose, jealous, body (somatic), or mixed (more than one) types
  • Disorganized speech
  • Severely disorganized or catatonic behaviors
  • Negative symptoms, like the decrease or absence of speech (alogia), emotional expression, or movement

Similar to schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder is associated with impairments in memory, changing attention, thinking abstractly, and planning. However, people with schizoaffective disorder tend to have better cognitive functioning compared to people with schizophrenia. In terms of brain structure, individuals with schizoaffective disorder tend to have smaller brain volumes compared to the general population, particularly in certain areas of the brain.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/10/2014

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