Little is known about schizoaffective disorder. Some experts believe that it is a provisional diagnosis until it can be determined if a patient truly has schizophrenia or an affective disorder. However, it is included in the DSM-IV as an actual diagnosis, and must be treated as such.
Essentially, people with this illness experience symptoms of both schizophrenia and affective disorders (either bipolar disorder or depression). The criteria include a person having a period in which the affective disorder is active and two of the major symptoms of schizophrenia (such as delusions and hallucinations) are also present. Additionally, the person must experience delusions or hallucinations for a period of two weeks in the absence of any mood disorder.
Treatment for this disorder is based on symptoms. For the schizophrenic symptoms, anti-psychotics such as Zyprexa and Geodon are utilized. Manic symptoms may be treated with lithium and Depakote, while depressive symptoms are treated with anti-depressants.
Psychosocial treatment may focus on the clients understanding of the disease process, coping with their illness, new ways of coping with stress, and the ability to function better in social and job settings, as well communication issues.