Schizoaffective Disorder (cont.)
In this Article
Who Gets Schizoaffective Disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder usually begins in the late teen years or early adulthood, often between the ages of 16 and 30. It seems to occur slightly more often in women than in men and is rare in children.
How Common Is Schizoaffective Disorder?
Because people with schizoaffective disorder have symptoms of two separate mental illnesses, it is often misdiagnosed. Some people may be misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia, and others may be misdiagnosed with a mood disorder. As a result, it is difficult to determine exactly how many people actually are affected by schizoaffective disorder. However, it is believed to be less common than either schizophrenia or affective disorder alone. Estimates suggest that about one in every 200 people (0.5%) develops schizoaffective disorder at some time during his or her life.
How Is Schizoaffective Disorder Diagnosed?
If symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are present, the doctor will perform a complete medical history
and physical exam. Although there are no laboratory tests to
specifically diagnose schizoaffective disorder, the doctor may use various
If the doctor finds no physical reason for the symptoms, he or she may refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a psychotic disorder. A diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder is made if a person has periods of uninterrupted illness and has, at some point, an episode of mania, major depression or mix of both while also having symptoms of schizophrenia. In addition, to diagnose the illness, the person must display a period of at least two weeks of psychotic symptoms without the mood symptoms.
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