What is Schizoaffective Disorder Bipolar Type (Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment)?

If left untreated people with schizoaffective disorder of bipolar type are highly susceptible to suicide attempts.

Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental illness that has features of two different conditions, schizophrenia and an affective (mood) disorder, either major depression or bipolar disorder.

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others. Depression is an illness that is marked by feelings of sadness, worthlessness, or hopelessness, as well as problems concentrating and remembering details. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes, including severe highs (mania) and lows (depression).
Schizoaffective disorder is a life-long illness that can impact all areas of daily living, including work or school, social contacts, and relationships. Most people with this illness have periodic episodes, called relapses, when their symptoms surface. While there is no cure for schizoaffective disorder, symptoms often can be controlled with proper treatment.

Schizoaffective disorder, a rare mental disease characterized by symptoms that relate to both schizophrenia and affective or mood disorders, can be manifested in various forms. Through this blog post you get more information on what is schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, its symptoms, diagnosis, causes, and symptoms.

Schizoaffective disorder bipolar type is possibly the rarest form of mental diseases and is characterized by overlapping symptoms of both bipolar depression and Schizophrenia. Tough, many prefer to call it as a combination of the two diseases, one must realize that schizoaffective bipolar disorder is a mental disorder in its own standing and requires special care and attention.

In spite of being a seriously debilitating mental disease, schizoaffective bipolar patients are known to lead a more productive life than most schizophrenics, if timely treatment is offered. For this it is imperative that family and friends of the patient are able to recognize the tell tale signs and symptoms of the disease and refer the person to a doctor immediately.
Symptoms of Schizoaffective disorder
A person suffering from schizoaffective bipolar disorder may show several classic symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disease. The patient usually experiences phases of extreme euphoria, recklessness and hyperactivity, usually termed as mania, which is punctuated with phases of extreme depression and normal moods. However, unlike bipolar disorder, a schizoaffective bipolar patient may suffer from psychotic visual and auditory hallucinations even during the normal moods.

Diagnosis of Schizoaffective disorder:

Due to the highly overlapping symptoms of schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, this disease is often misdiagnosed as either Bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. However, for speedy return to normal life, right diagnosis and treatment is essential. Doctors, usually rely upon extended personal interviews with the patient and relatives, observation of various symptoms and phases experienced by the patient, personal and family history and diagnostic test (to rule out physical illnesses) for making the diagnosis.
Usually doctors look for symptoms that rule out bipolar disorder and schizophrenia for making the right diagnosis.

•    Schizoaffective Bipolar disorder V/S Bipolar disorder – Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized with phases of mania, depression and normal phases. A bipolar person may experience psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions only in extreme cases of depression and mania; the person is almost asymptomatic in the normal mood phases.

In Schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, though, the psychotic symptoms can occur at any time and are not restricted to any particular mood phases

•    Schizoaffective Bipolar disorder V/S Schizophrenia – Schizophrenia is neuro-psychological disease that inhibits normal thinking, perception of reality, and ability to experience emotions. It does not involve mood disturbances in form of depression or mania.

In contrast, a person suffering from schizoaffective disorder bipolar type experiences mood cycling or rapid mood changes, which may swing between mania and depression in varying intervals, along with other schizophrenic symptoms like delusional hallucinations, psychosis, disconnected thought process, etc.
Treatment of Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective bipolar disorder is a lifelong disease. The onset of the disease is usually in early adulthood. If left untreated, the patient is highly likely to either commit suicide, self harm, or at times even cause mortal harm to people around.
To prevent such extreme situations it is imperative to start the right mode of treatment at the earliest. Due to the varied symptoms that these patients experience, there is no single treatment available for the disease. Instead, combination of various different forms of treatments, including psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, anti-psychotic and anti depressive drugs, and at times electro convulsive therapy (shock treatment) is employed.

It must be noted that schizoaffective disorder bipolar type cannot be cured; rather it has to be managed. The treatment for the disease is for life and aimed at controlling the symptoms that the person may experience.

What Causes Schizoaffective Disorder?

While the exact cause of schizoaffective disorder is not known, researchers believe that genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors are involved.
Genetics (heredity) : A tendency to develop schizoaffective disorder may be passed on from parents to their children.

Brain chemistry : People with schizophrenia and mood disorders may have an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. These chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are substances that help nerve cells in the brain send messages to each other. An imbalance in these chemicals can interfere with the transmission of messages, leading to symptoms.