What Is The Difference Between Schizophrenia And Schizoaffective Disorder?


Asked by Kathy

What Is The Difference Between Schizophrenia And Schizoaffective Disorder?

I've been diagnosed (several years ago) with Schizoaffective Disorder. A friend of mine says this is just the "New" word for Schizophrenia. What is the difference really?


Hi Kathy,

Schizophrenia is strictly a thought disorder that could also affect mood to some degree.

However, in schizoaffective, the concurrent mood disorder is significant enough for a patient to be given the diagnosis schizoaffective.

Schizoaffective is a combination of schizophrenia and a mood disorder, which is either depressive or manic, hence it's commonly thought of as a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar.

The underlying mood disorder would have to great, whereas a person with schizophrenia could have delusions and be depressed, but the depression isn't a strong feature.

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia 21 years ago, and it was only recently, through working with my current psychiatrist, that I realized the schizophrenia medication, at the right dose, would quell my moods when they were out of balance.

Again, schizoaffective carries with it a mood disorder that is a dominant feature of the symptoms the person experiences.

Next week, the second blog I post will be called "Dealing with Feelings" and perhaps reading it will help you understand the connection between thoughts and moods, at least in how I've experienced them in my recovery.

Best regards,


Answered by Christina Bruni