The influential American psychologist, Wayne Dyer, once said, “Having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing seems to me to be one of the most basic principles that you can adopt to contribute to individual and world peace.” This is the type of open-mindedness that can be beneficial when it comes to treating one’s mental illness. Further, this includes having an open mind when it comes to treatment options for schizoaffective disorder.
What Exactly Is Schizoaffective Disorder?
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that still faces much debate within the psychological community. This is because some people feel that schizoaffective disorder shares too many similarities to schizophrenia to have a separate classification.
On the other hand, others argue that the two types of schizoaffective disorder, the bipolar type, and the depressive type, are too close to bipolar disorder and major depression to be considered schizophrenia. Ultimately, these are all semantics, because schizoaffective disorder has enough distinction to stand on its own.
Nevertheless, schizoaffective disorder is a mental health disorder that exhibits both symptoms of schizophrenia and symptoms of a mood disorder. The mood disorders associated with schizoaffective disorder include bipolar I disorder and major depression. This is also what distinguishes the two types of schizoaffective disorder mentioned earlier.
What Are Some Signs and Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder?
Now, while the bipolar type and the depressive type of schizoaffective disorder share some very distinct characteristics, there are also some universal signs and symptoms that they both share. These are the ones mainly associated with the schizophrenia side of the disorder. Signs and symptoms can include:
- Experiencing hallucinations, both audibly and/or visually
- Having disorganized speech, such as speaking extremely slowly, or not being able to convey thoughts
- Experiencing catatonia, which is the feeling of being unable to move
- Becoming delusional and being convinced of things that are not true
- Having trouble staying organized, such as keeping a schedule
- Loss of motivation
- Trouble sleeping
- Losing interest in activities, work, and/or school
- Trouble making eye contact
- Self-medicating with alcohol and/or other substances
- A sudden loss of sex drive
For schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, there are going to be extended periods of mania. Then for schizoaffective disorder depressive type, there will be long periods of deep depression. However, while these two types have differing symptoms, their recommended treatments are relatively the same.
What Are the Best Treatment Options for Schizoaffective Disorder?
Now the primary treatments for schizoaffective disorder involve medication and therapy. These are traditional, evidence-based methods, and it is recommended that they be utilized as a foundation for treating schizoaffective disorder.
There are other types of treatment modalities that can also be highly effective at treating mental illnesses like schizoaffective disorder. Two types of these treatments are categorized as experiential therapies and holistic treatments. However, these should be used as supplements to evidence-based treatments and not as the primary modality.
Traditional Treatment Options for Schizoaffective Disorder
As mentioned previously, medication and therapy are ideal ways to treat schizoaffective disorder. Sometimes, medication is used as the sole treatment. However, it is recommended that medication and therapy be used in tandem for the best results.
There are primarily three medications that are used to treat schizoaffective disorder: Antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. These medications can alleviate symptoms to allow the individual with schizoaffective disorder to function comfortably throughout the day. They can also enable engagement with therapy to be much easier.
The therapies predominantly used for schizoaffective disorder are individual psychotherapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). These therapies can help the individual get to the underlying emotions and cognitions often associated with the behaviors of the disorder. From there, the individual can learn to recognize when these thoughts and feelings are starting to surface so they can modify said behaviors.
Experiential and Holistic Treatment Options for Schizoaffective Disorder
On the one hand, experiential treatments can be highly beneficial for individuals struggling with schizoaffective disorder because they can help them get away from isolating behavior and interacting with the outside world. Also, experiential therapies like art, drama, and narrative therapy can help individuals who have trouble communicating express themselves comfortably.
On the other hand, holistic treatment modalities like meditation, breathwork, and yoga can be pivotal in treating schizoaffective disorder because they can help relieve stress and improve clarity. These are also recovery practices that can travel beyond the treatment center, which can be invaluable when issues arise in the “real” world.
Utilizing the Best Comprehensive Care at The Phoenix Recovery Center
There are a myriad of treatment options available for schizoaffective disorder, many of which we offer here at The Phoenix Recovery Center. We offer more “traditional” treatment modalities such as medications and psychotherapy, coupled with some holistic approaches such as nature therapy, meditation, breathwork, and yoga. Together, in a comprehensive treatment plan, these approaches often facilitate the best treatment outcomes. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with schizoaffective disorder or any other issue of mental health or addiction, please don’t wait to reach out for help. For more information on effective treatment options for schizoaffective disorder, contact The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.