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About Mental Illness >> Schizoaffective Disorder
Symptoms and Causes
Since schizoaffective disorder bears a close resemblance to both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, people with the illness experience a combination of symptoms associated with both diseases.
In fact, with schizoaffective disorder, the symptoms of bipolar disorder, like either depression or mania, and symptoms of schizophrenia are experienced at the same time, or within a few days of each other. Given this overlapping or rapid cycling of symptoms, it's easy to see why schizoaffective disorder is one of the most disorienting and disturbing mental illness.
Doctors and researchers have clearly identified two types of schizoaffective disorder: bipolar type and depressive type, each with different sets of symptoms.
In bipolar type, there is a clear presence of manic or mixed symptoms. As with bipolar disorder, these episodes are marked by a sudden elation and euphoria, or extreme irritability that can cause serious impairment.
In depressive major depressive episodes are evident. These episodes are often characterized by deep and profound feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or indifference, as well as a marked inability to concentrate or remember details. Thoughts of death are common and suicide attempts are a very real danger.
In the end, there are many different definitions of these conditions, and it can be difficult for the doctors to settle on a diagnosis.
As for the causes of schizoaffective disorder, they appear to parallel the root diseases, schizophrenia and affective disorders, like bipolar disorder.
Research indicates that schizoaffective disorder is probably caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain's neurotransmitters, with genetic vulnerability playing a key role as well.