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You may have times when you struggle to look after yourself, and when your doctors consider that you lack insight into your behaviour or how you are feeling. You may be quite well between episodes.
The episodes vary in length. Some people have repeated episodes but this does not necessarily happen, and it may not be a lifetime diagnosis.
You may be given a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder if you experience:
The word schizoaffective has two parts:
These are experiences called hallucinations and delusions.
Having hallucinations means experiencing things that others around you don’t. These may be:
Delusions are strongly held beliefs that other people don’t share. For example, you may feel:
In general, you may feel:
The mood symptoms are very like bipolar disorder (manic depression).
They may be:
'Manic type' – episodes when your mood symptoms are mainly manic.
These episodes may be mild (hypomania) or more severe.
‘Manic type' may also be called ‘bipolar type’, especially if you have episodes of depression as well.
'Depressive type' – episodes when your mood is dominated by depression.
You may feel:
'Mixed type' – this term may be used if you switch between mania and depression in a short time. Cycles of mania and depression can occur at fairly regular intervals, although this varies from person to person.
I have suffered with mental health issues throughout my life. My problems were not picked up as a teenager, which resulted in a crisis in my early 20s, involving hospital admissions and being severely mentally unwell. The diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder seemed to fit with my experience better than any other 'label' or diagnosis.
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