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Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by a curious mixture of symptoms, which can masquerade as other disorders or diseases, making the disorder difficult to diagnose. Doctors have come to believe that schizoaffective disorder may run in families. The exact cause is a mystery, though some research indicates that it may come from an imbalance of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Other research points to exposure to viruses, or malnutrition before birth, or even to complications of delivery during birth.
Whatever the cause, it is difficult to diagnose because it involves not one, but multiple brain mechanisms, and that the disorder can develop in numerous ways, and may respond differently to different treatments.
The two distinct states of schizoaffective disorder are ‘unipolar depression’ and ‘bipolar disorder’, otherwise known as manic-depression. Those diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder can expect a prognosis similar to that of a classic schizophrenic, or at the other end of the spectrum, that of a patient with a mood disorder. The prognosis depends on symptoms, and the way the disorder expresses itself in a particular individual.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder fall into two categories – Manic and Depressive.
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Doctors often have trouble differentiating schizoaffective disorder from classic schizophrenia and, even sometimes from mood disorders. Mood symptoms are more noticeable in this disorder, and will last longer than those seen in classic schizophrenia. Schizoaffective disorder is sometimes distinguished from mood disorders by using the following criteria:
However, some people do not follow this pattern, and experience mood symptoms at the same time as bipolar symptoms, thereby making the diagnosis more difficult. Distinguishing between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is also difficult during adolescence, because this age group exhibits psychotic symptoms during manic periods. The diagnosis of schizophrenia or mood disorder is sometimes changed to schizoaffective disorder, as the doctor observes the patient over time. The reverse may also be true.
Because of the complex array of symptoms in this disorder, doctors may prescribe one or some of the following treatments:
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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