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Schizoaffective disorder

Explains what schizoaffective disorder is, including its symptoms and causes. Gives advice on how you can help yourself and what types of treatment and support are available, as well as guidance for friends and family.

What is schizoaffective disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental health problem where you experience psychosis as well as mood symptoms. 

The word schizoaffective has two parts:

Some people have suggested that schizoaffective disorder sits in the middle of a spectrum, with schizophrenia at one end and bipolar disorder at the other. This is because these diagnoses share many similar symptoms. But schizoaffective disorder is recognised as a separate diagnosis.

You might have times when you struggle to look after yourself. Or when your doctors feel that you lack insight into your behaviour and how you're feeling. 

Symptoms can begin at any age, but usually start when you’re a young adult. Some people only experience symptoms of schizoaffective disorder once in their life.

Schizoaffective disorder and Me

Things started having secret meanings and I was convinced I could see into the future.

Schizoaffective disorder and stigma

Some people may not understand or have heard of schizoaffective disorder. They may have misconceptions about you. Or a negative or inaccurate image of schizoaffective disorder.

This can feel very upsetting. Especially if the person who thinks this way is a friend, colleague, family member or healthcare professional.

Schizoaffective disorder is less well known than some other mental health problems. This may make it harder to find information or support. Or to connect with others who have similar experiences. This may feel frustrating and lonely at times.

You might want to think about the following options:

  • Show people this information. It might help them understand what your diagnosis means.
  • Get more involved in your treatment. You can make your voice heard. You can also take steps if you’re not happy with your care. For guidance, see our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem.
  • Know your rights. The law can help you in certain situations. For more information, see our pages on legal rights.
  • Take action with Mind. For details of ways you can get involved in helping challenge stigma, see our page on campaigning.

Remember: you're not alone. You don't have to put up with people treating you badly. For more information, see our page on stigma and misconceptions about mental health.

This information was published in February 2023. We will revise it in 2026.  

References and bibliography available on request.

If you want to reproduce this content, see our permissions and licensing page.

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