Diagnosing And Managing Substance Use Disorders
Misusing drugs or alcohol is not uncommon in people living with schizoaffective disorder. Many people use substances as a coping strategy, but it is unhealthy and makes things worse. Any degree of substance misuse can be a big issue that gets in the way of remission and normal functioning, even when the mental illness is being treated and managed. To help your child live a better life, it is important to address any substance use.
A thorough treatment plan implemented at a mental health rehabilitation facility or with outpatient treatment professionals should include an evaluation for substance use disorder. Insist that your son or daughter be evaluated and diagnosed, and that managing substance use is part of the overall treatment plan. If this is ignored, it can undo all the good work done in treatment for schizoaffective disorder.
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Factors Which Influence The Prognosis Of Schizoaffective Disorder
Like all illnesses, schizoaffective disorder is highly individualized. Within the framework of what makes schizoaffective disorder schizoaffective disorder, each person experiences it uniquely.
The personal nature of the disorder carries into its prognosis, too. Everyones outcome can be different. A big part of the reason for that involves specific prognostic factors:
- The way someone functioned before symptoms began
- How intense the symptoms are
- The nature and depth of the psychosis
- Whether psychotic and mood symptoms are congruent , or are they out of synch, one group beginning as the other group ends?)
- How persistent the symptoms are
- How negatively schizoaffective disorder affects cognitive functioning
- How many episodes does someone experience as time progresses
While there isnt a cure for schizoaffective disorder, at least not yet, this illness can go into remission, a period in which symptoms arent present and functioning is good. The more the factors can be answered positively, the better the chances are that the signs and symptoms will recede.
People often experience schizoaffective disorder in cycles of symptoms and remission. Its possible to achieve an outcome in which periods of remission are long and periods of symptoms are relatively mild.
While there are no guarantees because this complex disorder is different for everyone and so many different factors are involved, if you are living with schizoaffective disorder, the prognosis is good for getting better.
What Are The Signs Of Schizophrenia Getting Worse
There are several signs that indicate the symptoms of schizophrenia are worsening. For example, if the person with schizophrenia is not taking their medication as prescribed and experiencing an increase in hallucinations or delusions.
It may also be a sign that the symptoms of schizophrenia are getting worse if you notice any changes in your loved one’s hygiene routine, weight, appetite, sleep patterns, and overall health condition. It is important to note that it may not be the schizophrenia itself that is causing these changes, but rather your loved one’s coping strategies related to their schizophrenia.
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What Risks Can Schizoaffective Disorder Cause
The risk of suicide is higher for the first few years after your symptoms start. You can seek treatment early and make a crisis plan. The right treatment can help control your symptoms and help to lower the risk of suicide.
You can make a crisis plan yourself or you can ask someone to help you. A crisis plan is a plan of action that you will follow to help with suicidal feelings. Usually a plan will include people, services and activities that can help you.
You can find out more about Suicidal thoughts: How to cope by clicking here.
Managing Treatment Through The Years
Schizophrenia treatment involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and self-management techniques. Although there isnât a cure, you can go into remission. With schizophrenia, remission means your symptoms are not as intense. Your doctor may be able to lower your dosage of medication. But this will be only under close supervision, since relapse is very common.
Antipsychotic drugs are generally used to help with symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. Your doctor might also prescribe drugs to help with side effects from antipsychotics.
Psychotherapy may include cognitive behavioral therapy. You may try other approaches like art therapy and drama therapy, among others. You can also get help with strategies that improve your social skills, motivation, and hygiene.
Itâs important to remember that schizophrenia affects people of all age groups. And it can affect each person differently, although there are common symptoms. As you age with schizophrenia, your treatment plan will take into account just how itâs affecting you at that point in your life. Your doctor will want to see how well youâre doing with antipsychotic medication. Theyâll also look at how well psychotherapy and other types of support are working for you.
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Which Medicines Are Used To Treat Schizoaffective Disorder
- Antipsychotics: These help decrease psychotic symptoms or severe agitation. You may need antiparkinson medicine to control muscle stiffness, twitches, and restlessness caused by antipsychotic medicines.
- Anxiety medicine may help you feel calm and relaxed.
- Antidepressants: These help decrease or stop the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and behavior problems.
- Mood stabilizers: These control mood swings.
- Anticonvulsants: These control seizures, decrease violent behavior, and control mood swings.
- Blood pressure medicines: These may be used to help decrease motor tics . They may also help you feel calmer, more focused, and less irritable.
- Anticholinergics: This decreases the side effects of other medicines.
Does Someone With Schizoaffective Disorder Need To Be Hospitalized
Most people with this disorder can get outpatient treatment. They go to a clinic or hospital for treatment during the day and then return home. Sometimes, people have severe symptoms, though, or theyre in danger of harming themselves or others. They may need to be hospitalized to stabilize their condition.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Schizoaffective Disorder
There is a wide variety of signs and symptoms associated with schizoaffective disorder, and each individuals presentation will vary in accordance with the severity of the condition. Some of the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may include:
- Inability to cry or express joy
- Angry outbursts
- Speaking too slowly or too quickly to be understood
- Problems functioning in social settings
- Inability to navigate responsibilities at home or at work
- Social isolation
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Dramatic increase or decrease in energy
- Poor hygiene / disregard of physical appearance
How Is Schizoaffective Treated
Schizoaffective is viewed as a severe disorder. New medications for schizophrenia or other mood disorders, in conjunction with psychotherapy, have been proven effective in managing the condition. There have been more successful treatment options despite the lack of knowledge surrounding schizoaffective. Medication is prescribed by physicians to stabilize the extreme mood states and help with psychotic symptoms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved only one medication to treat the condition. Invega is an antipsychotic drug that can help someone reestablish a fulfilling life.
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Keep Body And Mind Active
, MD, a psychiatrist with Mindpath Health who is based in San Jose, California, says the advice he would give a person with schizophrenia who is getting older is the same advice he would give to someone who has a family history of dementia:
- exercise frequently
- maintain a healthy diet
Taking these steps will help get the brain adequate blood flow and also reduce psychosocial stressors, which is a trigger for schizophrenia, he says.
Does Bipolar Disorder Change With Age
According to Steve Guglielmi, a licensed professional clinical counselor-supervisor at LifeStance Health, bipolar disorder can change with age.
Guglielmi explained that, similar to most mental and physical health-related concerns, bipolar symptoms can increase in severity and frequency if left untreated. Early treatment can prevent such progression to psychosis or self-harming/suicidal behaviors.
A 2021 literature review added that any symptomatic and outcome differences might be less about how bipolar disorder functions across the lifespan.
Instead, its more about differences in educational achievements, stable social relationships, social adjustment and support, and resources to cope with the mental illness, which may all be impacted by a persons age.
Typical signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder can be categorized as depressive, manic/hypomanic, or mixed .
Depressive episode symptoms include:
- racing thoughts
- grandiose ideas
Dr. Meghan Marcum, a chief psychologist with AMFM Healthcare, explains that while evidence on this topic is limited, we know that when the onset is earlier in life, the symptoms tend to be more severe overall.
The aforementioned literature review suggests the same, demonstrating that earlier onset bipolar disorder is associated with more severe symptoms including:
- more severe and atypical symptoms in first manic episode
- greater psychotic symptoms
- increased rapid mood cycling
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How Does Psychotherapy Treat Schizoaffective Disorder
During therapy, the person talks to a trained mental health professional. The goal of psychotherapy is for the person to:
- Learn about the illness.
- Establish goals.
- Manage everyday problems related to the disorder.
Family therapy can also help. A therapist can help families learn how to cope with the illness and support their loved one. Family therapy helps improve symptoms and quality of life for the person with the disorder.
How Severe Is Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder, even without the schizoaffective symptoms, can be very severe and can ruin a persons quality of life if it isnt treated. Its possible to misdiagnose bipolar symptoms as a schizoaffective disorder if there are psychotic symptoms present. Its possible that bipolar disorder that includes psychotic symptoms is more severe than other types of bipolar disorder.
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How Is Schizoaffective Disorder Treated
Schizoaffective disorder is extremely complex, but it can be treated. The first step in treatment is getting an accurate diagnosis. This may take a trial-and-error process with your doctor or therapist. Its important to communicate clearly and make a note of your symptoms as you experience them. When you have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, you can work with your doctor to find the best treatment for your needs. Many people with schizoaffective disorder respond to a combination of therapy and medications. You may also go through life skills training. The best treatment options may depend on the type of schizoaffective order you have and other factors.
Here are some therapy and medication options for schizoaffective disorder.
Schizoaffective Disorder Risk Factors
There are several schizoaffective disorder risk factors that may raise the risk of schizoaffective disorder developing. Schizoaffective disorder is more common in those who have parents or extended family who have had schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Those who have an identical twin with schizoaffective disorder are much more likely to develop schizoaffective disorder themselves.
Biological factors can also lead to an increased risk of developing schizoaffective disorder. This primarily includes imbalances in brain chemistry. Scientists are not certain of what causes imbalances in brain chemistry, but when certain chemicals in the brain become more abundant, it can lead to a higher risk of schizoaffective disorder developing. Many of the medications used to treat schizoaffective disorder are focused on restoring balance to brain chemistry.
Additionally, environmental factors can also play a role in the development of schizoaffective disorder. High levels of stress, negative social interactions or even viral infections can trigger the onset of schizoaffective disorder in those who are already prone to it or who have other risk factors. While environmental factors can trigger the onset of schizoaffective disorder, they are less likely to do so for those without any other risk factors.
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Difference Between Schizophrenia And Schizoaffective Disorder
If you have schizophrenia, then you may hear voices that arent real and see things that dont actually exist. If you have schizoaffective disorder, then you may feel detached from reality and struggle to manage your mood. These two disorders often sound similar and have some things in common. However, understanding the difference between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder is important to finding the right treatment and managing these conditions effectively.
What Causes Schizoaffective Disorder
Researchers dont know the exact cause of schizoaffective disorder. They believe several factors are involved:
- Genetics: Schizoaffective disorder might be hereditary. Parents may pass down the tendency to develop the condition to their children. Schizoaffective disorder can also occur in several members of an extended family.
- Brain chemistry: People with the disorder may have an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These chemicals help nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other. An imbalance can throw off these connections, leading to symptoms.
- Brain structure: Abnormalities in the size or composition of different brain regions may be associated with developing schizoaffective disorder.
- Environmental factors: Certain environmental factors may trigger schizoaffective disorder in people who inherited a higher risk. Factors may include highly stressful situations, emotional trauma or certain viral infections.
- Drug use: Using psychoactive drugs, such as marijuana, may lead to the development of schizoaffective disorder.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Schizoaffective Disorder
- Delusions: These are false ideas. You may believe that someone is spying on you, or that you are someone famous.
- Hallucinations: You see, feel, taste, hear, or smell something that is not real.
- Disordered thinking and speech: When you talk, you move from one subject to another in a way that does not make sense. You may make up your own words or sounds.
- Negative symptoms: These include lack of expression, eye contact, and words. You may not be able to start and continue a planned activity. You may have little interest in work or social activities.
- Depression: You are depressed most of the day or nearly every day. You may lose or gain weight, or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. There may be feeling of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts.
- Manic behavior: These are periods of increased self-esteem and energy with little to no sleep. You may talk more than usual. You may have racing thoughts or be easily distracted. You may have more interest in social activities.
Who Will Manage My Treatment
There are different NHS mental health teams that can support and treat you. Health professionals from different backgrounds work in the teams shown below. They work together to help you get better.
What is an NHS Early intervention in psychosis team ?
An NHS Early intervention in psychosis team can support you if you experience psychosis for the first time.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that early intervention services should be open to people of all ages.
You should be referred to the EIT without delay. Your local EIT will aim to first see you within 14 days.
You can sometimes self-refer to your local EIT. This means that you can contact them and ask for help, without first seeing your GP or another medical professional. Sometimes your family or friends can refer you too.
You should be able to find your local EIT on the internet. You can use a use a search term like NHS early intervention psychosis team Leicestershire. Or you can call NHS 111 and ask for contact details for your local team,or ask your GP to refer you.
What is an NHS community mental health team ?
A community mental health team can support you to recover from mental health issues. They can give you short or long-term care and treatment in the community. You might move from an Early intervention in psychosis team to a CMHT if you need longer term care.
You usually need to be referred to CMHT by your GP or another medical or social care professional.
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Causes Of Schizoaffective Disorder
The exact cause is still unknown, but key components that contribute to the development of schizoaffective disorder include:
- Genetics: The disorder tends to run in families, but it does not mean if someone has the illness, you will get it, too. It does mean your chances are higher of developing schizoaffective.
- Brain chemistry and structure: Scientists are only starting to understand brain function and structure, but brain scans are helping to move this research forward.
- Stress: Stressful events such as losing a family member, a failed marriage, or a loss of a job may trigger symptoms or an onset of the illness.
- Drug use: Hallucinogenic drugs like LSD have been linked to the development of schizoaffective disorder.
Schizophrenia: The 7 Keys To Self
Seek social support. Friends and family vital to helping you get the right treatment and keeping your symptoms under control. Regularly connecting with others face-to-face is also the most effective way to calm your nervous system and relieve stress. Stay involved with others by continuing your work or education. If thats not possible, consider volunteering, joining a schizophrenia support group, or taking a class or joining a club to spend time with people who have common interests. As well as keeping you socially connected, it can help you feel good about yourself.
Manage stress. High levels of stress are believed to trigger schizophrenic episodes by increasing the bodys production of the hormone cortisol. As well as staying socially connected, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your stress levels. Try adopting a regular relaxation practice such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.
Get regular exercise. As well as all the emotional and physical benefits, exercise may help reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, improve your focus and energy, and help you feel calmer. Aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days, or if its easier, three 10-minute sessions. Try rhythmic exercise that engages both your arms and legs, such as walking, running, swimming, or dancing.
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