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How does schizoaffective disorder differ from schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
People with schizoaffective disorder experience many of the symptoms of schizophrenia, such as psychosis and disorganized thinking. But schizoaffective disorder is considered different from schizophrenia because people with the disorder exhibit clear mood disorder symptoms. Mood disorder symptoms include severe depression, where a person may feel tired, unhappy, lack interest in life, and have trouble eating or sleeping for weeks at a time. Or, one's mood disorder symptoms may be at the other extreme, and the person may appear manic, have little need for sleep, and feel extremely excited and energetic.

Essentially, schizoaffective disorder includes symptoms of schizophrenia, accompanied by severe mood symptoms. Some experts deny that schizoaffective disorder is a unique disorder at all. According to the Mayo Clinic, schizoaffective disorder is often easier to treat than schizophrenia, although long-term treatment with medications and therapy is required for recovery.

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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.