In this blog, we will cover topics like Schizoaffective disorder, its causes, symptoms, treatment, diagnosis, Daniel’s life with schizoaffective disorder, and also answer frequently asked questions.
How Is Daniel’s Life With Schizoaffective Disorder?
Daniel has talked about how he lives with schizoaffective disorder in an interview that was broadcasted on a Youtube channel. He talked about how he often suffers from hallucinations, delusions, psychosis, self-harming tendencies, and various other issues on a day-to-day basis.
We will dive deep into that but before we get to what it is like to live with this disorder, we need to understand schizoaffective disorder.
What is schizoaffective disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is a long-term mental health disorder characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia as well as a mood disorder such as major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. Many individuals with schizophrenia are mistakenly diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder at first.
Scientists are unsure if schizoaffective disorder is primarily caused by schizophrenia or by a mood disorder. However, it’s commonly thought of and treated as a blend of the two.
Only about 0.03 percent of the population is affected with schizoaffective disorder. It affects both men and women equally, but men are more prone to get it at a younger age. Doctors can help you manage it, but the majority of people who are diagnosed with it relapse. People who suffer from it frequently struggle with substance abuse.
Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder
People will have varied symptoms depending on the sort of mood disorder they have been having with the symptoms of schizophrenia but the common ones are mentioned below:
- Hallucinations, which means you see or hear things that aren’t really there.
- Delusions are fairly common
- Disorganized thought process.
- A person may go from one issue to the next quickly or give replies that are totally unconnected.
- A depressed state of mind. When a person is diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder depressive type, they will suffer sorrow, emptiness, feelings of worthlessness, and other depression symptoms.
- Irrational behaviour. If a person has schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type, they will have feelings of euphoria, racing thoughts, and an elevated risk of suicide along with other symptoms of mania.
Daniel talks about living with schizoaffective disorder
A youtube channel named Special Books by special kids interviewed a man named Daniel who is suffering from schizoaffective disorder.
Daniel has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, that is, schizophrenia with a personality disorder which in his case is a borderline personality disorder.
He also suffers from complex post-traumatic disorder (CPTSD), manic depression, and anxiety disorder. He has also experienced 8 concussions. He describes experiencing psychosis as a “horrifying experience”.
His symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include delusions and hallucinations. He has a belief that people will go through his phone or bug his mail. Even though the logical part of his brain knows that thinking is so insane, he just can’t help it.
He experiences both random and recurring hallucinations. He at times sees objects coming to life like the Jesus poster on his wall that will suddenly become real for him. He also experiences auditory hallucinations. These include internal voices (voices in his own head) and external voices (his shadow talking to him).
He feels that he can never be truly happy and thinking about the future is scary for him. 90% of the time he loathes who he is. During a psychotic episode, he can also indulge in self-harming activities like pacing for hours, walking on bridges, etc. However, he has never tried to harm another person.
What does Daniel suggest for people with the schizoaffective disorder?
Daniel also suggests some things that friends and family can do to help him or people with the disorder in general. These include:
- Not pushing the issue, sometimes the person knows that maybe what they are saying does not make any sense to you but if you continue asking them questions it can drive them crazy and they might start banging their head on the wall. So try to give them some space
- Sensory toys are also very helpful in keeping the person grounded
- Daniel also says that particularly for him, if he texts someone very late at night like 3 AM, then chances are that it is most likely a cry for help.
He concludes the interview by talking about how it makes a world of difference to know that somebody cares. He also wants the people with the condition to know that they are not alone. There are mental health professionals and groups that will be more than happy to help them.
He says that if in our darker times we are willing to take steps that can cause us harm, then we should also be willing to take steps that will help us. He urges everyone with the condition to take the jump and seek proper treatment without being ashamed of their disorder.
It is really insightful to know the personal account of schizoaffective disorder from someone who experiences it in their life. Let us now understand the causes, treatment, etc. for schizoaffective disorder.
Causes of schizoaffective disorder
There is no one known cause for schizoaffective disorder. A number of factors may have a role in the development of the schizoaffective disorder.
Schizoaffective disorder is a genetic illness that runs in families. This isn’t to say that if a relative has this disorder you’ll get it too. However, it does mean that you have a higher probability of contracting the condition.
- Brain chemistry and structure of the brain
The structure and function of the brain may differ in ways that science is only beginning to comprehend. Brain scans are assisting in the advancement of this field of study.
Stressful situations like a loved one’s death, the breakdown of a marriage, or the loss of a job can cause symptoms or the development of the condition.
- Drug abuse
LSD and other psychoactive substances can also lead to schizoaffective disorder
Treatment of the schizoaffective disorder
The medications prescribed to manage the symptoms associated with this disorder wil depend upon the symptoms and the severity of the symptoms being experienced by a person:
- Antipsychotics: Antipsychotics are the most common medications used to treat the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions, hallucinations, and abnormal thinking.
- Antidepressants, such as lithium, are mood stabilizers that can aid with mood-related problems. A person may require both an antidepressant and an antipsychotic at times.
The person talks to a skilled mental health practitioner during a treatment. The purpose of psychotherapy is for the individual to be able to:
- Find out more about the illness.
- Set objectives.
- Deal with the disorder’s day-to-day issues.
- Family counseling can also be beneficial. A therapist can assist families in learning how to cope with their loved one’s illness and provide support. Family therapy can assist the person with the condition improving their symptoms and quality of life.
If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.
This aids a person in managing their daily lives in a much better manner. It frequently focuses on:
- everyday tasks like managing money and the house
- hygiene and grooming
- Social abilities.
If you’re suicidal or threaten to harm others, you may need to be admitted to the hospital to deal with the severe symptoms.
Adults who do not respond well to counseling or drugs may be candidates for electroconvulsive therapy. It entails passing a fast electric current through your head. (You’ll be given a general anesthetic to let you sleep through the procedure.)
It induces a seizure that lasts only a few seconds. Doctors prescribe it because they believe it alters brain chemistry and may help to reverse some diseases but this can be a really tricky type of treatment and one needs to proceed with caution and follow their doctor’s instructions well.
We got a lot of insight into schizoaffective disorder, its symptoms, causes, treatments, etc., and we also got to understand the disorder from the perspective of someone who has been suffering from it and it gives us a better idea about this disorder.
Frequently asked questions: How Is Daniel’s Life With Schizoaffective Disorder?
Can schizoaffective disorder be prevented?
Schizoaffective disorder cannot be prevented. However, if you see symptoms in yourself or a loved one, get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Early therapy can assist to prevent or lessen relapses and hospitalizations. It can also help the person’s life, family, and relationships to be less disrupted.
How should I take care of myself (or a loved one) when it comes to schizoaffective disorder?
Perhaps you or a loved one has shown symptoms of schizoaffective disorder. Long-term hallucinations, delusions, sadness, and manic episodes are all possible signs. The first step is to speak with a medical professional. Getting a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible can help you feel better and live a better life.
Make careful to follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations:
- Individual and family therapy sessions should be attended.
- Maintain communication with your healthcare practitioner, who can assist you in managing and adjusting your treatments as needed.
- Take your meds exactly as prescribed. To help you manage the medications’ side effects, talk to your doctor.
- If necessary, treat drug abuse issues.
Are there side effects of schizoaffective treatment?
Side effects from the medications are possible.
Lithium’s side effects include:
- Tremors in the hands.
- Appetite loss is common.
- Thyroid hormone deficiency.
- Diarrhea that is not severe.
Antidepressant side effects (which vary depending on the type of antidepressant) include:
- Diarrhea or constipation.
- You have a dry mouth.
- Sexual issues (including delayed orgasm or erectile dysfunction).
- Insomnia is difficulty sleeping.
- Gaining or losing weight.
Antipsychotic drug side effects include:
- Cholesterol and triglyceride increase
- Diabetes risk is increased.
- Movements are slow.
- Gaining weight.
Is it necessary to hospitalize someone with schizoaffective disorder?
Outpatient treatment is available for the majority of people with this disease. During the day, they go to a clinic or hospital for treatment and then return home. However, some people have severe symptoms or are in danger of injuring themselves or others. They may need to be admitted to the hospital to get their condition under control.
What is the prevalence rate of schizoaffective disorder?
The schizoaffective disorder commonly manifests itself in late adolescence or early adulthood, usually between the ages of 16 and 30. It appears to affect women slightly more frequently than males. It is uncommon in children.
Schizoaffective disorder is often mistaken with other psychotic or mood disorders since it includes symptoms from two mental conditions. Schizophrenia may be diagnosed by some clinicians. Others may mistake it for a mood disorder.
As a result, it’s difficult to estimate how many people have schizoaffective disorder. It’s likely to be less common than schizophrenia or mood problems on their own.
What does the future hold for those with schizoaffective disorder?
The schizoaffective condition has no known cure. However, treatment may be beneficial. The correct medicine and therapy combination can:
- Assist the person in dealing with the disorder.
- Improve their social skills.
- Reduce the severity of the symptoms.
- Learn better coping and management skills