Schizoaffective disorder is an unusual and commonly misdiagnosed condition. Because of the mixture of symptoms, doctors and mental health professionals often catch just schizophrenia or a mood disorder. It can take time to sort out all the signs and diagnose a person properly. Typical schizophrenia symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, thoughts, and behavior. Mood symptoms can consist of depressed mood, social isolation, negative thoughts, thoughts of harming oneself, sleep problems, despair, and some mania (for the manic subtype).
Although this disorder can be rarer than others, a portion of people still experiences it and it’s necessary to find treatment programs that can help. If you or someone you love is experiencing signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorders, it’s essential to seek the help of a mental health treatment center. Contact us at 269.280.4673 to learn more about our schizoaffective disorder treatment programs in Augusta, MI.
What Does Schizoaffective Disorder Look Like?
Schizoaffective disorder causes a lot of emotional pain along with confusing thoughts, isolation, and mood problems. It’s common for people with schizoaffective disorder to develop an alcohol or drug addiction while trying to self-medicate their pain or increase feelings of pleasure. Substance use can magnify their isolation, mood symptoms, and thought problems.
If someone you knew had both conditions, you would likely notice schizophrenia symptoms such as:
- Disorganized behavior
- Limited social interactions
- Losing touch with reality for periods
Drugs and alcohol often impair judgment and increase impulsively. A person using them while experiencing symptoms may frequently seem suicidal from both the disorder and the effects of their addiction.
Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment Programs
A schizoaffective disorder treatment program has many components. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to help reconnect thought processes and cope with emotions. If someone is actively suicidal, they may need to be admitted to a hospital or inpatient psychiatric unit. Group and individual therapy supports them as they learn (or relearn) and maintain good social skills. Anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medication are used in combination depending on the person’s symptoms.
Family involvement is an integral part of treatment. Some people with schizoaffective disorder live with family members because they cannot care for themselves. Families greatly benefit from psychoeducation about the disorder and family therapy. Medication is a critical part of treatment and must be closely monitored.
How Does Schizoaffective Disorder Interact with Drugs and Alcohol?
Alcohol and marijuana worsen schizoaffective symptoms. Alcohol and drug addiction can interact in harmful, even deadly, ways with anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications. People with schizoaffective disorder can have a more devastating effect on themselves with smaller and less frequent amounts of alcohol or drugs than people without a mental health concern. Getting proper dual diagnosis treatment is critical for someone in this situation.
There are both challenges and positive outlooks with treatment for schizoaffective disorder and dual diagnosis. The hard news to swallow is that people with schizoaffective disorder and substance use disorder are more likely to have relapses and are more likely to require hospitalization than those who abstain from drugs and alcohol. However, the long-term prognosis positively looks good when these people follow long-term drug treatment programs along with other support systems for several years.
Treatment and Support Are Available for Schizoaffective Dual Diagnosis at Skywood Recovery
At Skywood Recovery, we treat both mental health disorders and addictions. We work to provide coordinated treatment for a dual diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and substance use disorder.
You can get your life back from this disorder through psychotherapy, medication treatment, and holistic programs. Contact us today at 269.280.4673 to learn more about our schizoaffective disorder treatment programs. This diagnosis can be challenging, but there is help. Reach out to us to learn more.