Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder

What Are the Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder?

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder vary from person to person and usually start during early adulthood, but they can begin anywhere from adolescence to late in life.

Schizoaffective disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences a major mood episode (major depressive or manic) along with at least 2 symptoms of schizophrenia, one of which must be a positive symptom. The schizophrenia symptoms must occur for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period.

Symptoms are one of the factors healthcare professionals use to diagnose a serious mental health condition. It is important to have a healthcare professional review your symptoms and history for an accurate diagnosis.

These Are Symptoms of Schizophrenia and Major Mood Episodes:

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Positive Symptoms

Added behaviors that make a person appear to "lose touch" with reality.

  • Hallucinations—Hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling things that no one else experiences
  • Delusions—Having beliefs that are not true or logical
  • Disorganized speech and behavior—Having difficulty thinking or speaking

Negative Symptoms

Behaviors that are different from a person's usual way of being in the world.

  • Flat affect—Showing little emotion or facial expression
  • Avolition—Experiencing less pleasure in everyday activities
  • Alogia—Speaking very little

Cognitive Symptoms

Symptoms that affect a person's ability to complete daily activities, such as working.

  • Trouble focusing
  • Problems with memory
  • Limited understanding and decision-making ability

Mood Disorder Symptoms

Manic Episode

A week-long period in which at least 3 or 4 of the following symptoms occur for most of the day, nearly every day:

  • Feeling "high" or overly happy
  • Irritable mood
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Talking very fast and a lot
  • Racing thoughts
  • Less need for sleep
  • Being easily distracted
  • Risky behaviors like impulsive spending sprees or sexual activity
  • Increase in goal-directed activity (at work or school)

Depressive Episode

A period of time lasting 2 weeks, in which at least 5 of the following symptoms have occurred:

  • Depressed mood, feeling sad, empty, or hopeless
  • Less interest or pleasure in daily activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Agitation
  • Feeling tired or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Inability to think or concentrate
  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide

There are treatment options to help manage your schizoaffective symptoms. Work with your doctor and treatment team to learn more about all of the symptoms you might experience and create a treatment plan that is right for you.