Schizoaffective Disorder

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Schizophrenia Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideSchizophrenia Pictures Slideshow: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Schizophrenia Pictures Slideshow: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What are complications of schizoaffective disorder?

There are a number of potential complications of schizoaffective disorder. Obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity are examples of medical problems that disproportionately affect people with this and other severe mental illnesses. It is estimated that between 46%-50% of people with a psychotic disorder like schizoaffective disorder have a substance-abuse disorder at some time in their life, most commonly nicotine, followed by alcohol and marijuana abuse. There is research indicating that about one-third of people who suffer from either schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia have attempted suicide. Suicide attempts seems to occur about four years after the first-time psychosis occurs and about seven years after the onset of the first major depressive episode for those who had a history of major depression. Even in the absence of depression, people with a psychotic disorder like schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia are at higher risk for having suicidal thoughts or attempts.

What is the prognosis of schizoaffective disorder?

The prognosis of schizoaffective disorder can be challenging. Some studies indicate that about 47% of people with this illness or schizophrenia can be considered to be in remission after five years, and about one-quarter of individuals have appropriate social functioning for two years or more. The prognosis for people with schizoaffective disorder tends to depend on how well the person was functioning before the illness began, the number of illness episodes the person has, how persistent their psychotic symptoms are, as well as their level of cognitive functioning. Overall, however, individuals who suffer from schizoaffective disorder tend to have psychotic symptoms for a longer time before getting treated and to have a more difficult course compared to those with bipolar disorder. Whether an individual suffers from schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia, they are more likely to have more frequent, troubling hallucinations and anxiety, as well as more difficulty attending work regularly over time compared to people without those illnesses.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/2/2016

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