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Schizoaffective Disorder


Schizoaffective disorder is a long-term mental illness that may change how you think, feel, and act around others. You may not know what is real and what is not real.



  • Antipsychotics: These medicines help decrease psychotic symptoms or severe agitation. You may need antiparkinson medicine to control muscle stiffness, twitches, and restlessness caused by antipsychotic medicines.
  • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Antidepressants: These medicines are given to decrease or stop the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and behavior problems.
  • Mood stabilizers: These medicines help control mood swings.
  • Anticonvulsants: This medicine is given to control seizures. It may also be used to decrease violent behavior and control your mood swings.
  • Blood pressure medicines: These may be used to help decrease motor tics (uncontrolled movements). They may also help you feel calmer, more focused, and less irritable.
  • Anticholinergics: This medicine decreases the side effects of other medicines.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or psychiatrist as directed:

You may need to return to have your blood pressure and other symptoms checked. You may need blood tests to check the level of medicine in your blood. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your symptoms:

The following may help you feel better or prevent symptoms of schizoaffective disorder from coming back:

  • Find support for yourself and your family: Talk with others to help you cope with your illness better. This may also help to improve how you relate to others.
  • Keep all medical appointments: This will help manage your disease and the side-effects from medicines you may be taking.
  • Use your medicines as directed: Put your medicines in a pillbox placed in an area you can easily see. Use a watch with an alarm to help you remember when it is time to take your medicine. Tell your healthcare provider if you know or think you might be pregnant. Do not stop taking your medicines without your healthcare provider's okay. A sudden stop can cause serious medical problems.
  • Watch for early signs of a relapse and seek help immediately:
    • How you think, feel, and see things has changed.
    • You behave differently than usual.
    • You become more nervous and upset, but do not know why.
    • You eat less and have trouble sleeping.
    • You have little or no interest in friends or activities.

For support and more information:

  • American Psychiatric Association
    1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825
    Arlington , VA 22209
    Phone: 1- 703 - 907-7300
    Phone: 1- 888 - 357-7924
    Web Address:
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Office of Science Policy, Planning, and Communications
    6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6200, MSC 9663
    Bethesda , MD 20892-9663
    Phone: 1- 301 - 443-4513
    Phone: 1- 866 - 615-6464
    Web Address:

Contact your healthcare provider or psychiatrist if:

  • You think you are having a relapse.
  • You are having side effects from your medicine, or they are not helping.
  • You are not sleeping well or are sleeping more than usual.
  • You cannot eat or are eating more than usual.
  • You have muscle spasms, stiffness, or trouble walking.
  • Your sad feelings or thoughts change the way you function during the day.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You feel like hurting or killing yourself or others.
  • You feel that your condition is getting worse.
  • You feel very upset, threaten someone, or you feel violent.
  • You suddenly have changes in your vision.
  • You suddenly have chest pain, trouble breathing, or a fever.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Schizoaffective Disorder (Discharge Care)

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.