How Do You Deal With a Schizoaffective Person?

Medically Reviewed on 3/30/2022
How Do You Deal With a Schizoaffective Person?
Support from family and friends plays a huge role in managing schizoaffective disorders, as well as these six tips.

The diagnosis of a schizoaffective disorder can come as a great shock for the affected person and their caregivers.

Support from family and friends plays a huge role in managing schizoaffective disorders. The caregivers can actively participate in the person’s treatment in various ways including giving them emotional support and looking after their basic needs (such as hygiene and diet). 

Although it may be overwhelming to see your loved one’s behavior changing bizarrely, you can help them while ensuring your mental and physical well-being.

6 ways to deal with a person with schizoaffective disorder

  1. Be well informed of the disease: The first step toward helping a person with schizoaffective disorder is knowing what they are going through. Learn about their diagnosis and how it affects them. This will help you know their symptoms and seek medical care when needed. You will learn why they are behaving a certain way and what are their limitations due to the disease.
  2. Provide adequate emotional support: A person with schizoaffective disorder may often feel hopeless, sad, and anxious. Your love, care, and encouraging words can help them better deal with their emotional turmoil.
  3. Ensure that they get proper treatment: Adequate and timely treatment is the foundation of managing all health conditions, including schizoaffective disorders. Help them take their medications as prescribed. Take efforts to explain to them why the treatment is important. If you do not stay with them, you can check on them regularly to ensure that they are adhering to the treatment regimen.
  4. Be patient with them: Schizoaffective disorders are often associated with unreasonable, bizarre, or unacceptable behaviors. Know that the person is not doing it deliberately, rather it is the disease that is making them behave, think, or act differently. Having a mental health condition does not mean that the person is innately bad, incapable, or wrong. If you lose your cool or behave harshly with them, it may make their symptoms worse. Hence, practice compassionate and patient behavior toward them to help them cope with the condition.
  5. Guide them but respect their decisions: Your loved one may need your guidance to understand the disease and take proper decisions concerning it. The decisions may relate to the kind of treatment they need, the occupation they must pursue, or other personal choices. You may help them make better decisions, but you must not undermine, insult, or disregard their choices. Being too controlling may harm their mental health. Hence, help them make their decisions but do not try to take over their life.
  6. Know your limits as well: Understand that you being a human have your limits, both physical and emotional. A caregiver needs care and peace. If you feel things are a bit too out of hand, seek a professional’s help. They may help you discuss your limitations with your loved ones and adopt better ways to look after them. You need to ensure your mental and physical well-being to be in a position to look after them. You may occasionally take a break and get some me-time as well. Discuss with other members of the family or friends to share the responsibility instead of doing it all by yourself. You may seek help through support groups and social services.


Schizophrenia is the most disabling mental illness. See Answer

What are the causes of schizoaffective disorder?

The exact cause of schizoaffective disorders is not known. Studies suggest that genes and environmental factors may play a role in causing this condition.

Some of the factors that increase your likelihood of having schizoaffective disorder are:

  • A family history (having a close relative, such as a parent or sibling with schizoaffective disorder, mood disorders, or schizophrenia)
  • A history of emotional or physical abuse or neglect
  • Childhood trauma
  • Stressful events, such as losing a loved one or a financial crisis
  • Use of certain psychotropic drugs

How is schizoaffective disorder treated?

The treatment of schizoaffective disorder mainly consists of a combination of:

  • Medications: The choice of medications depends on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may include antipsychotic medications, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants.
  • Psychotherapy: Also called talk therapy, psychotherapy is crucial to managing schizoaffective disorders. It may be provided as individual or family or group therapy.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): It involves passing an electric current through the brain to manage the symptoms. ECT is mainly considered for people with extreme symptoms who do not respond to medications or psychotherapy.
  • Social and vocational rehabilitation: The management of schizoaffective disorders is not limited to managing symptoms. It involves making a person capable of having healthy social relationships and having the means to manage their financial needs.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/30/2022
Image Source: iStock Images

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Texas Tech University. Supporting Someone With Schizoaffective Disorder.

NAMI. Schizoaffective Disorder.