Schizoaffective Disorder in Adults

ICD-10 code: F25.9

Schizoaffective disorder is part of a cluster of diagnoses called the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.  Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions that include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Delusional Disorder
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Psychotic Disorder
  • Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition
  • Catatonia
  • Schizotypal (personality) disorders
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder
  • Schizophreniform Disorder

These disorders are characterized by symptoms that can be divided into two groups: positive and negative.

Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking (speech), and grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (including catatonia). Delusions are fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence. Hallucinations are perception-like experiences that occur without external stimulus. Disorganized thinking/speech is characterized by a derailment or loose associations in an individual’s speech pattern. Grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior is a difficulty in sustaining goal-oriented behavior. This may manifest itself in a variety of ways, ranging from childlike “silliness” to unpredictable agitation.

Negative symptoms include diminished emotional expression, avolition, alogia and anhedonia. Negative symptoms are those that involve a loss of normal function or experience. Diminished emotional expression is the reductions in the expression of emotions in the face, eye contact, intonation of speech, and movement of hand, head, and face that normally give an emotional emphasis to speech. Avolition is a decrease in motivated self-initiated purposeful movement. Alogia is manifested by diminished speech output. Anhedoia is the decreased ability to experience pleasure from positive stimuli.

What is schizoaffective disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder is a neuropsychiatric disorder that encompasses clinical features found in both mood disorders and schizophrenia. Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, formal thought disorder, or negative symptoms that co-occur with depressed mood with or without additional symptoms of mania.

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Understanding Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is approximately one-third as common as schizophrenia, affecting approximately 0.3% of adults. Onset of schizoaffective disorder typically occurs in early adulthood, although onset can occur anywhere from adolescence to late in life.

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How is schizoaffective disorder treated?

The Schizoaffective Disorder Working Group suggests that in the absences of established norms and rigorous treatment standards, definitive treatment guidelines are premature.  


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