Schizoaffective Disorder: Depressive Type

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Schizoaffective disorder is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as involving the presence of characteristics of both schizophrenia and affective disorders.

This can mean having at least one episode of bipolar type I or II, or having major depressive episodes. The depressive type of schizoaffective disorder involves mood episodes that meet the criteria for major depression.

What Are the Two Types of Schizoaffective Disorder?

There are two types of schizoaffective disorder: depressive and bipolar type. The DSM-5 defines the depressive type of schizoaffective disorder as involving mood episodes that meet the criteria for major depression.

The bipolar type of schizoaffective disorder involves manic, hypomanic, or mixed episodes:

  • Depressive type schizoaffective disorder involves mood episodes that meet the criteria for major depression.
  • Bipolar type schizoaffective disorder involves mood episodes that meet the criteria for bipolar I or II.

Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type Symptoms & Signs

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder depressive type include symptoms of both schizophrenia and depression.

These symptoms may vary depending on the patient's age, personal experiences, and other factors.

Examples of Schizophrenia Symptoms in Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type 

  • Unusual thoughts, perceptions (e.g., seeing or hearing things that are not there), and behavior
  • Disorganized thinking or trouble organizing daily life activities
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Difficulty coping with problems and work-related, school, or home issues

Examples of Depression Symptoms in Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type 

  • Sadness and loss of interest or pleasure in activities that are normally enjoyable
  • Restlessness, being easily tired, feeling slowed down, or having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Unexplained aches and pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without another medical cause

Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type Causes & Risk Factors

The exact cause of schizoaffective disorder depressive type is not yet known. However, it is believed that having a family history of mental illness may play a role.

Traumatic experiences such as child abuse and exposure to viruses during pregnancy may also increase the risk for developing this condition.

Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type Treatments

Treatment for schizoaffective disorder depressive type may include antipsychotic medication, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, psychosocial treatments, and other therapies.

Medication for Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type

The treatment for schizoaffective disorder depressive type is a combination of medications and psychotherapy. Doctors usually begin with antipsychotic medication, along with an antidepressant or another type of medication that may help with depression symptoms.  

Psychotherapy for Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type

The doctor will usually recommend psychotherapy (also called talk therapy) to help patients cope with schizoaffective disorder depressive type symptoms like depression, psychosis, hallucinations, and delusions.

Psychotherapy may include the following approaches:

The doctor may recommend different types of psychotherapy based on the patient's symptoms, age, and other medical conditions. Therapy may be short-term or ongoing depending on the patient's goals and needs.

It is important to realize that schizoaffective disorder depressive type symptoms can be severe and may not respond to therapy alone. Even if therapy relieves some symptoms, other symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions may require additional treatment.

Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type Prognosis

Prognosis for schizoaffective disorder depressive type varies depending on the severity of symptoms and other medical problems.

Patients with schizoaffective disorder depressive type who receive the appropriate treatment and follow their doctor's instructions usually see improvement in symptoms.

Is Schizoaffective Disorder the Same as Psychotic Depression?

Schizoaffective disorder is not the same as psychotic depression. Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that includes symptoms of both schizophrenia and depression.

Psychotic depression is a type of severe depression with psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions.

Helping a Loved One With Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type

While many people diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder depressive type can lead fulfilling lives, symptoms of the condition may make it challenging for some to succeed at work or school.

If you are caring for someone who is living with schizoaffective disorder depressive type, here are some ways that you can help:

  • Offer support and understanding: Although schizoaffective disorder depressive type symptoms can make it difficult for your loved one to have a typical social life, they may appreciate the chance to spend time with you.
  • Help set realistic expectations: Most people living with schizoaffective disorder depressive type function well during periods of symptom relief.
  • Reinforce your loved one's treatment plan: Encourage your loved one to take their medications and attend therapy appointments.
  • Help with day-to-day activities: Even if your loved one is able to work, they may find it useful to have you help with daily tasks such as food shopping or paying bills.

Coping With Schizoaffective Disorder Depressive Type

If you have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder depressive type , you may feel overwhelmed by the diagnosis and your symptoms. You may also be worried about how your condition will affect your relationships, work, and day-to-day activities.

To help cope with schizoaffective disorder depressive type, here are some tips:

  • Take care of yourself: Try to get enough sleep and eat a well-balanced diet. Exercise can help you feel better physically and mentally.
  • Reach out for support: If you have a family member or friend that you trust, consider talking to them about your feelings. You can also contact a trusted clergy member, spiritual leader, or someone else in the community who is trained to offer support.
  • Join a support group: Talking to others who are facing similar challenges can be comforting. Seek out schizoaffective disorder depressive type peer support groups in your area.
  • Learn about schizoaffective disorder depressive type: The more you know about schizoaffective disorder depressive type, its symptoms, and how it's treated, the better equipped you will be to make decisions about your care.

A Word From Verywell

Schizoaffective disorder depressive type, just like any other mental illness, can be challenging to overcome. However, you or your loved one can get better with the right treatment plan.

If you are struggling to cope with schizoaffective disorder depressive type symptoms, remember that there are people who can help you.

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