Schizoaffective Disorder as a Rare Abnormal Psychiatric Condition

Researchers and medical experts view abnormal psychology as a branch of psychology that deals with a number of abnormalities and psychopathological behaviors that exist in the society, such as emotional disorders, unhealthy habits, abnormal and uncontrolled behaviors, bipolar disorders, narcissistic obsessive compulsive disorder, abnormalities related to alcohol consumption, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress, schizoaffective disorders, autism spectrum disorder, mood misbalance, sporadic violence, major depression, eating disorders, angriness, manic episodes and many other abnormalities. As statistics shows, there are a lot of people who have serious problems with emotional health, and their atypical and abnormal behavior negatively influences not only their personal health, social development, and wellbeing but also destroys the normal functioning of the society and the individuals around them. Researchers and abnormal psychologists have their own thoughts, beliefs, and considerations regarding normal-abnormal concepts and state the concept of abnormality is difficult to explain as the individual’s abnormalities may result in different forms, features, and expressions. Schizoaffective disorder is an example of abnormal condition which may result in different symptoms, features, expressions, causes and even treatment, where some individuals with schizoaffective abnormality continue to function in the community and simply lack insights and awareness about their illness, while others show clear signs and symptoms of the disease getting stranger and stranger each day.

Schizoaffective disorder is one of the most serious disorders which combine the elements of schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder. As evidence shows, schizoaffective disorder “may be a variant of schizophrenia in which mood symptoms are unusually prominent but not unusual in type” (Abrams, et all., 2008, p. 1089). Some people with schizoaffective psychiatric condition experience the severe forms of major depression or anxiety in combination with bipolar disorder, while others reflect the co-occurrence of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, emotional instability, and chronic long-lasting mood disorders. On the whole, the patients with schizoaffective abnormalities experience persistent psychosis, sudden bouts of fury or uncontrolled angriness, emotional instability, hallucinations, delusions, violent and abnormal behaviors, manic episodes, depression, and mood swings. Some researchers identify schizoaffective disorder as a specific clinical diagnosis with specific symptoms and physical conditions, which requires certain medication and specific therapy. Other medical experts state that this abnormal psychotic condition “simply reflects the co-occurrence of two relatively common psychiatric illnesses, schizophrenia and a mood disorder” (Abrams, et all., 2008, p. 1089), which makes schizoaffective disorder as “a variant of schizophrenia in which mood symptoms such as sadness, euphoria, or irritability are more prominent and severe than usual but not inherently unusual in type” (Abrams, et all., 2008, p. 1089).

Causes of schizoaffective disorder vary from person to person but the most common causes of schizoaffective condition may include genetic influences, especially when the individual has a close blood relative who experiences schizoaffective abnormalities, environmental influences, stressful events and social pressure, everyday’s life challenges, poor emotional health, low self-esteem and self-worth, depression, anxiety, the influence of medications (the use of psychoactive or psychotropic drugs).  Many researchers show that childhood is one of the most influential and vulnerable periods in person’s life and “schizoaffective disorder is thought to stem from variations that affect brain development during childhood” (Nordqvist & Legg, 2016). At the same time, there are certain categories of people who may develop schizoaffective symptoms and abnormal complications later in life because of a number of other significant influences, such as personal and professional instability, unemployment, poverty, homelessness, family and interpersonal conflicts, loneliness and social isolation, the lack of support and communication, suicide attempts or thoughts about suicide, alcohol abuse problems, and other negative influences. Study after study shows that “the exact causes of schizoaffective disorder are unclear, but it is believed to derive from an imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain” (Nordqvist & Legg, 2016). On the whole, genetics, parental age, environmental influences, stressful life events, the use of psychotic medications significantly increase the risks of genetic mutations, which may result in schizoaffective condition or schizophrenia later in life. Despite the fact that schizoaffective disorder is a rare abnormal psychiatric condition, which affects less than 1% of the population, this abnormal condition requires certain attention and further researcher’s exploration as even today there is no cure for this psychiatric condition. At the same time, treatment may partly help and even positively influence the overall mental health of the individual with schizoaffective condition. According to Wilson et all. (2014), “the schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder patients did not differ in positive or general psychotic symptoms” but “schizoaffective disorder patients had a significantly better prognosis than schizophrenia patients” (p. 32). Objective approach and complex treatment are crucially important as schizoaffective condition is very difficult to treat as a bipolar disorder alone. Despite the fact that schizoaffective disorder is considered as a specific clinical diagnosis with specific symptoms and physical conditions, “pharmacological studies do not focus on schizoaffective disorder alone, and what we know about the drug treatment of schizoaffective disorder comes from analyses of large trials in patients with schizophrenia that have included a subset of patients with schizoaffective disorder” (Cascade, et all., 2009, p. 16). Some medical experts use antipsychotic therapy and mood stabilizers; others provide schizoaffective patients with mood disorder treatments and antidepressants. Psychological interventions and counseling play a core role in treatment of schizoaffective disorder, help patients to realize their abnormalities, develop positive attitudes to other people and positive thoughts toward the future, improve the relationships with friends and relatives, enhance a sense of personal control and real-life plans, and finally, help patients to cope with their personal problems, inner perceptions, feelings and emotions. Treatments and medications vary from person to person but usually patient’s therapy is based on personal symptoms, individual’s realization of the illness, severity of symptoms and condition, patient’s behaviors and attitudes, potential complication and possible risks.

As evidence shows, the signs of abnormal psychology are obvious in every individual as every person represents their own strange behaviors, prejudices, and attitudes to the community and people around them. Many individuals live and function in the community with their hidden strange behaviors and interests. On the one side, they are successful and independent, wealthy and respectful; on the other side, these people may experience uncontrolled emotions, mood swings, mental instability, cruelty and negative attitudes, and even violent or manic behaviors. Early diagnosis and immediate treatment of behavioral abnormalities are crucially important to every individual who experiences signs of “unhealthy” or strange behaviors as often mentally unbalance people negatively affect not only personal health, self-esteem, and social development but also their families, friends, and “normal” society around them.

In conclusion, schizoaffective disorder is a rare but serious psychotic condition, which affects the individual’s emotions, mood, thoughts, and cognition. Some medical experts view schizoaffective disorder as a type of schizophrenia, while others classify this psychotic condition as a separate abnormal disorder. As seen, schizoaffective disorder is an example of abnormal condition, which may result in different symptoms, features, expressions, causes and even treatment. Some people with schizoaffective abnormalities continue to function in the society and simply lack of insights and awareness about their illness; others show clear signs and symptoms of the disease getting stranger and stranger each day, which requires professional medical treatment and psychological support. But no matter how serious the illness is, major depression or paranoid personality disorder, or what kind of treatment and therapy the patient receives, the one thing is certain – abnormal psychologists should follow honest thoughts and beliefs regarding people with abnormalities and be completely aware of personal attitudes or stigma toward individuals who possess mental health disorders, especially when it comes to young individuals with schizoaffective disorder, which symptoms may vary from person to person.      


Abrams, D.J., Rojas, D.C., & Arciniegas, D.B. (2008).  Is schizoaffective disorder a distinct  categorical diagnosis? A critical review of the literature. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 4(6): 1089–1109.

Cascade, E., Kalali, A.H., Buckley, P. (2009). Treatment of Schizoaffective Disorder.  Psychiatry (Edqmont), 6(3): 15–17.

Nordqvist, C., & Legg, T.J. What is Schizoaffective Disorder? Medical News Today. Retrieved from

Wilson, J.E., Nian, H., & Heckers, S. (2014). The schizoaffective disorder diagnosis: A conundrum in the clinical setting. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 264(1): 29-34.   

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

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"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 26, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]
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