Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Treatment

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Individuals with schizophrenia have typically lost touch with reality. Over 2.5 million Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Because individuals with schizophrenia have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary, their behavior is often socially unresponsive and withdrawn. 

Symptoms of Schizophrenia typically start between the ages of 16 and 30 and fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.

Positive symptoms are defined as psychotic behaviors that are not generally seen in healthy people. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, and movement disorders. Individuals with “positive” symptoms have lost touch with reality. 

Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. Symptoms may include “flat affect,” reduced feelings of pleasure, difficulty beginning activities, and a reduction in speaking or communication. 

Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia can be subtle, but for others, they may be more severe and affect an individual’s thinking and memory. Symptoms include poor executive functioning, trouble focusing or paying attention, and problems with memory.

What is Schizoaffective Disorder?​

Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic and severe mental health disorder that shares symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as depression or mania.  Individuals with schizoaffective disorder are often misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia because of how many symptoms are shared between the disorders. 

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include the following: hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, depressive mood, and manic behavior.

Treatment of Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder​

Schizoaffective and schizophrenia disorders are both thought disorders. The disorders share symptoms that revolve around a person’s ability to perceive reality for what it is. Schizoaffective disorder affects about .3% of the population while schizophrenia affects 1.1% of American adults. The exact cause of schizoaffective disorder and schizophrenia are unknown. A combination of causes include genetics, brain chemistry, stress, and psychoactive drugs that may contribute to the development of the disorder.  

There is no cure for schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. However, with proper treatment, many people can lead productive and fulfilling lives. Studies have shown that early treatment will lead to better long term outcomes. 

Treatment for these thought disorders typically involves medication and psychosocial treatments. Medications are the first step in treatment and are prescribed to control and reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. With psychosocial treatments, individuals will learn how to develop coping skills to address the everyday challenges of these thought disorders. New goals will be identified, such as attending school or work, and individuals will participate in regular psychosocial treatment to help meet these goals and reduce relapses or hospitalizations

At Renewal Behavioral Health, we utilize the coordinated specialty care model of treatment which integrates medication, psychosocial therapies, case management, family involvement, and supported education and employment services, all aimed at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. 

For those individuals who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, seeking help for treatment can be beneficial. At Renewal Behavioral Health, we will help you restore a sense of control to your life. Call us today at (888) 292-0870 to learn more about how Renewal Behavioral Health can treat schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.