Schizoaffective Disorder is characterized by the presence of a generally continuous psychotic illness plus intermittent mood episodes. Mood episodes are present for the majority of the total duration of the illness, which can include either one or both of the following:
The psychotic illness criteria resembles criterion A of the schizophrenia diagnosis. requiring at least two of the following symptoms, for at least one month:
- Disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
- Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
- Negative symptoms (e.g., affective flattening, alogia, avolition)
(Only one symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person’s behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.)
The occurrence of the delusions or hallucinations must be in the absence of any serious mood symptoms for at least 2 weeks. The mood disorder, however, must be present for a significant minority of the time. The symptoms of this disorder also can not be better explained by the use or abuse of a substance (alcohol, drugs, medications) or a general medical condition (stroke). If the mood symptoms are present for only a relatively brief period, the diagnosis is schizophrenia, not schizoaffective disorder. Occupational functioning is frequently impaired, but this is not a defining criterion (in contrast to schizophrenia). Restricted social contact and difficulties with self-care are associated with schizoaffective disorder, but negative symptoms may be less severe and less persistent than those seen in schizophrenia. Schizoaffective disorder is less common than schizophrenia.
This disorder has been adapted for updated 2013 DSM-5 criteria; diagnostic code 295.70.
- General Treatment of Schizoaffective Disorder
- Online Schizoaffective Resources
- Schizoaffective Support Groups
Psych Central. (2014). Schizoaffective Disorder Symptoms. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/schizoaffective-disorder-symptoms/
Symptom criteria summarized from:
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 May 2014
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