Schizoaffective Treatment
in Orange County

Orange County Mental Health Treatment

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Did you know that schizoaffective disorder can shave 15 years off of a person’s life? Almost 85% of people living with a schizoaffective disorder also experience cognitive impairment

This puts them more at risk for adopting unhealthy lifestyles and behaviors. In return, this can predispose someone to other chronic illnesses.

It can be challenging in knowing what to look for in a mental health treatment center. If you have an interest in learning more about schizoaffective disorders and effective treatments, then keep reading on.

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

Schizoaffective disorder falls under the classification of mental health disorders. It is a chronic condition meaning the person will have to manage and treat it for the rest of their lives.

However, it doesn’t affect a vast portion of Americans. Only 0.3% of adults have this mental health illness, with equal rates between males and females.

Rarely does schizoaffective disorder begin in your childhood years. Most people receive a diagnosis in their late teens or even up until thirty years old.  

The exact cause of a schizoaffective disorder is unknown. The main suspicions or likely causes are:

  • Chemical imbalances
  • Environment
  • Genetics
  • Exposure in the womb
  • Birth defects


Genetics and chemical imbalances are thought to play a large role in the development of this disorder. Dopamine imbalances have been researched for years to better understand their role in this disorder.

More recently, glutamine imbalances show that they could play a role in the pathophysiology of schizoaffective disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

What are some of the key signs and symptoms that you can look for in schizoaffective disorder? There are two main subtypes of disorders that fall under this mental illness.

  • Psychosis
  • Mood disorder


The different types of mood disorders that a person can have are either depression or bipolar. If a person demonstrates psychosis (a loss of reality) with episodes of mania, they likely have bipolar as a mood disorder.

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If mania is not present and the person only shows signs of depression, then a person has major depression as a diagnosis. This is an important distinction. Many symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are not present in every individual. 

Some of the more common signs and symptoms are:

  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Social isolation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Disorganized thoughts
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Suicidation


Keep in mind — this is not an all-encompassing list. Sometimes, people start showing some improvements throughout the course of this mental illness.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Schizoaffective disorders become diagnosed through a psychiatric evaluation or a physical evaluation. A physical exam is important because it can rule out other factors that may be presenting similar symptoms. These include things such as seizures or other medication use. 

A psychiatric evaluation is the real true test for an official diagnosis. These professionals use criteria outlined in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 

Based on this, a person must present with two of these symptoms:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech


There are other symptoms and their length of time that the psychiatrist can look at for a more specific diagnosis. Unfortunately, people with disorders are more at risk for suicidal thoughts, drug abuse, and more. 

Mental health therapy is extremely important along with other courses of treatment, including:


Rehab in an inpatient setting can be critical in helping a person manage the chronic progression of this mental health illness. A mental health treatment center focuses on severe specific mental health disorders. They can cater programs and therapy to unique circumstances versus other forms of therapy.

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Psychotherapy Methods

While medication can help, there are other tools found in mental health treatment. The main strategy is psychotherapy, and it shows promising and long-lasting effects.

  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Holistic therapy
  • Humanistic therapy


CBT has been a long-time component of helping treat a variety of personality disorders. At its core, it addresses negative thought patterns and behaviors. 

Approximately 5% to 10% of people with a schizoaffective disorder don’t respond well to using medication. CBT has shown promise as an effective treatment for patients not responding to medication or not yet needing medication.

It is also a great tool for implementing in conjunction with medication-based treatments. 

Psychodynamic therapy can also be useful in helping address patient-specific goals and getting down to the root cause of some of the symptoms. Research suggests that combinations of psychotherapies such as mindfulness might also be helpful. 

Psychotherapy treatments are best implemented in an inpatient rehab setting where professional therapists can help monitor someone. It offers a safe and closed-environment setting where someone can address their behaviors, thought processes, and more.

Schizoaffective Treatment At First Light Recovery

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The structure of an inpatient rehab setting can provide in-depth psychotherapy to help create long-lasting and positive effects. These trained professionals can help implement tried and tested psychotherapies that help retrain negative thought processes and develop healthy coping skills.

Contact us today and let one of our skilled representatives find the right treatment plan for you or a loved one.