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What are the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder?

People with schizoaffective disorder experience both extreme moods and delusions or confusion. In this way it resembles a combination of schizophrenia and severe depression or bipolar disorder. Some people with schizoaffective disorder have bouts of major depression without mania, or they may have the reverse. Others have a combination of mania and depression. Symptoms may include any of the following: strange thoughts, paranoia (unreasonable fear), delusions (unrealistic ideas), hallucinations (perceiving things that do not exist), unclear thoughts, problems paying attention, problems remembering, disregard for cleanliness and appearance, changes in energy level, changes in sleep patterns, deep depression, suicidal ideas, irritability, and mania (unreasonable excitement or enthusiasm).
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can vary from person to person, especially since not everyone has the same mood disorder associated with their schizophrenia. The mood disorders typically associated with schizoaffective disorder are depression or bipolar disorder. You may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

Symptoms of schizophrenia include not always being able to tell reality from fantasy, seeing and hearing things that are not real, feeling paranoid about a government plot against you, being extremely depressed and feeling void of emotions, and/or acting, speaking, and moving in odd ways (if at all).

Depression is associated with feeling incredibly down and apathetic.

Bipolar disorder is associated with periods of feeling depressed, but also periods of mania where you have lots of energy, speak a mile a minute, and feel like you can do a million tasks at once.
During the depressed state the following symptoms may be present:
  • poor appetite
  • weight loss
  • insomnia
  • agitation
  • general slowing down
  • loss of interest in usual activities
  • lack of energy or fatigue
  • feelings of worthlessness
  • self-reproach
  • guilt
  • inability to think or concentrate
  • thoughts of death or suicide
During the manic state the following symptoms may occur:
  • increase in social, work or sexual activity
  • increased talking
  • rapid or racing thoughts
  • grandiosity
  • little need for sleep
  • agitation
  • inflated self-esteem
  • distractibility
  • self-destructive activities
  • Psychotic symptoms may include:
    • delusions
    • hallucinations
    • incoherence
    • disorganized speech or thinking
    • grossly disorganized behavior
    • total immobility
    • lack of facial expression, speech or motivation

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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.