How can I make the best possible recovery from schizoaffective disorder?

Most people with schizoaffective disorder continue treatment their whole lives. With treatment, many can live independently and have close relationships. A combination of counseling and medication provides the best treatment for schizoaffective disorder. The treatment may be different depending on whether your mood symptoms are bipolar (wide mood swings) or only depressive. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one drug, paliperidone, specifically for schizoaffective disorder. This antipsychotic reduces such symptoms as delusions (unrealistic ideas), paranoia (unreasonable fears), and hallucinations (perceiving things that don't exist). Doctors may use medicines approved for other similar mental illnesses to treat schizoaffective disorder. These include other antipsychotics, mood-stabilizers (which even out the highs and lows), and antidepressants (which control feelings of extreme sadness). All medications can cause side effects, including medicines for schizoaffective disorder; be sure to discuss any side effects you experience with your doctor. Trained mental health workers, such as psychotherapists, can provide reassurance and practical advice about how to manage the symptoms at work and home. Group therapy offers an opportunity for emotional support and exchanging tips on how to cope.
The following are tips for making the best possible recovery from schizoaffective disorder:
  • Accept that you have a prolonged illness.
  • Identify your strengths and limitations.
  • Make clear, realistic goals.
  • After a relapse, go slowly and gradually back to your responsibilities.
  • Plan a regular, consistent, predictable daily routine.
  • Make your home as quiet, calm and relaxed as you can.
  • Identify and reduce stress. Make only one change in your life at a time.
  • Work toward an active and trusting relationship with the staff involved in your care.
  • Take your medicines regularly, as prescribed.
  • Identify early signs of relapse. Make your own early warning list.
  • Get involved with a group of people you feel comfortable with.
  • Avoid street drugs.
  • Whether or not you drink alcohol is a very personal decision you should make with your prescriber.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • If you're not sure whether your feelings or fears are based in reality, ask someone you trust or compare your behavior with others.
  • Accept that there may be setbacks from time to time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.