Schizophrenia vs. Schizoaffective Disorder

May 14, 2023

Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder share some symptoms, but they are separate conditions. Learn the differences between them and how each is treated.

What is schizophrenia?

Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia is not multiple personality disorder. The “split” in schizophrenia refers to splitting off from reality.

Schizophrenic patients frequently experience hallucinations and illogical beliefs. Paranoia may play a part, as in the student who felt that one of his professors was referring to him personally in his lectures on abnormal psychology. Delusions of grandeur are another symptom. The same student insisted that he was a famous rock star incognito.

Hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination. The voices frequently start out harmless, but often progress to telling the patient to commit violent acts. Seeing things that are not there is reportedly the second most common type of hallucination. Thinking can become disorganized, as indicated by the inability to speak or answer questions in a meaningful manner. Disorganized speech can consist of puns, rhymes, or free association as opposed to typical verbal communication. Disorganized behavior is another sign. Patients may perform bizarre acts such as holding unusual postures or defecating in public places. Inability to function appropriately is known as a negative symptom. This might consist of the inability to find pleasure in any activity (anhedonia), lack of facial expression (flat affect), or inability to perform activities of daily living competently.

What is schizoaffective disorder?

Schizophrenia is a thought disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is a combination of schizophrenia and affective disorder, which involves emotions, such as depression or feeling overly happy. Patients can exhibit symptoms of bizarre behavior at one point, while becoming depressed or abnormally happy and energetic at another time.

How are schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder treated?

The list of antipsychotic drugs for treating schizophrenia includes:

  • Abilify (aripiprazole)
  • Saphris (asenapine)
  • Rexulti (brexpiprazole)
  • Vraylar (cariprazine)
  • Clozaril (clozapine)
  • Fanapt (iloperidone)
  • Latuda (lurasidone)
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)
  • Invega (paliperidone)
  • Seroquel (quetiapine)
  • Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Geodon (ziprasidone)

The antipsychotic drug Invega (paliperidone) is FDA-approved for treating schizoaffective disorder. It is thought to work by blocking serotonin and dopamine, two molecules involved in schizophrenia.

Other medications, such as antidepressants, are prescribed as needed. Psychotherapy, life skills training, and electroconvulsive therapy may also be used.

Can psychiatric medication be prescribed online?

QuickMD can help you manage your schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder remotely. To receive counseling and get a refill of your psychiatric medications, talk with a provider.

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