Are people with schizophrenia likely to be depressed?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Depression and other mood disorders can be a problem for many people with schizophrenia, especially if their illness is not treated. However, schizophrenia doesn't always cause depression. Sometimes people with schizophrenia are thought to be depressed because some symptoms of schizophrenia are similar to symptoms of depression. One of these symptoms is called flat affect. When a person has flat affect, he or she doesn't feel or express joy, sadness, or other normal emotions. This may lead others to believe that the individual is struggling with some kind of depression. Another quality of schizophrenia that mimics depression is social isolation. Because they do not know how to communicate with others, and their thought processes work differently, those with schizophrenia may tend to withdraw from others. Some people have problems with depression and schizophrenia. When symptoms of depression and schizophrenia are present in and individual and certain criteria are met, the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder may be most appropriate.
Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Schizophrenia, when accompanied by serious symptoms of depression, is known as schizoaffective disorder. While people with schizophrenia may have feelings of sadness or hopelessness at times, those with clinical signs of depression are diagnosed with another condition entirely. Schizoaffective disorder is the name of the mental illness that includes symptoms from both of the following categories:

• Schizophrenia symptoms, such hallucinations, delusions, odd speech, strange behaviors, paranoia, social isolation, and others
• Mood symptoms, or a diagnosis of a mood disorder, such as depression, mania, or bipolar disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic, people with schizoaffective disorder often do better long-term than those with classic schizophrenia, although this is not always the case.

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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.