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What are symptoms and signs of schizoaffective disorder?

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 (for example, false beliefs of superiority), jealous, body (somatic), or mixed (more than one) types and often involve the sufferer believing that an ordinary event has special and personal meaning (for example, the person with this symptom may believe that people on television are specifically talking to him or her directly)
  • Disorganized speech
  • Severely disorganized or catatonic behaviors, like rigid muscles, not speaking (mutism), purposeless moving, repeating what is said by others (echolalia) or adopting unusual body postures
  • Negative symptoms, like the decrease or absence of speech (alogia), a limited range of emotional, or movement

Symptoms of a major depressive episode might include the following:

  • Depressed or irritable mood most of every day for two weeks or more in a row
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Appetite changes
  • Significant weight loss in the absence of healthy dieting
  • Significant weight gain
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Restlessness or moving less (psychomotor agitation or retardation, respectively)
  • Low energy most days
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Social isolation
  • Hopelessness
  • Thoughts of death, thoughts, plans or attempts at self-harm or suicide

Symptoms of a manic episode may be characterized by the following:

  • Excessive self-esteem or grandiosity
  • Expansive mood/euphoria (for example, feeling excessively happy or silly)
  • Racing thoughts
  • Rapid, frenzied/pressured speaking that may be off topic (tangential)
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Sudden increases in energy
  • Impulsivity
  • Increase in goal-oriented activities
  • Engaging in activities that may cause problems (for example, excessive spending or sexual activity)

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 versus 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.

Return to Schizoaffective Disorder

See what others are saying

Comment from: sickandtired, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 05

I have delusional false beliefs dealing in religion, and I always feel lost and too out there to be able to find anyone with any advice that will help. If I do find advice that seems to help, I get manic about it and then I crash, feeling betrayed, unable to believe anything anybody says.

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Comment from: 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 18

Some of my symptoms without medications include hearing voices and being paranoid. I also have bipolar disorder, I can go up and down with mania (or hypo mania as my doctor calls it), and can also get a bit depressed here and there. I take medications and have a very normal life because of it. I still get paranoid, like thinking sometimes that someone is after me, but I'm learning that's not true. I feel like the medications balance me out. There is a chemical imbalance in my brain, and if I take these medications, then that does the job and allows me to be happy.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Jiyalal, Published: June 16

There is a lot of pain in my leg. I did not even stand after 4 o'clock in the evening and my foot's veins became red. I am worried about deep vein thrombosis.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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