Schizoaffective Disorder: Will Someone Please Explain? by Elsie Ramsey

On my loved one’s hospital discharge papers (read the previous post to see what landed her there), I read a list of diagnoses.

Two of them we knew, and had been treating for 7 years.  And then there was a third.  A bombshell of sorts.

“Schizoaffective Disorder”.

What did that even mean? I see schizophrenia embedded in the word so OH MY GOD.  Ok, let me go home and read the whole internet.

So then I called my own psychiatrist because the internet didn’t satiate my need for utterly comprehensive medical knowledge.

I said to him over the phone “Is this a thing that’s casually thrown around as a catch all”?.  And he was like, ‘yeah, sort of.  It’s often used to hedge bets”.

Alright, that put me more at ease.  She’d had a psychotic episode for sure, but I didn’t want to think that her prognosis involved ongoing auditory or visual hallucinations.

But truth be told, I’m still confused about how much this disorder comes into play regarding her sometimes erratic behavior.

She’s not capital P paranoid but the antipsychotic is an essential part of the med cocktail.  Without it she vilifies people that present no immediate danger and churns with obsessive thoughts.

I understand that must be the schizoaffective piece.  But Bipolar 1 also has those features.

Sigh.  I remain unclear but I suppose that’s ok.  Loving her and being a consistent presence has been more healing than any rock solid stockpile of knowledge. We learn together as we go.  All mental illness is unique and personal and that goes for my depressive illness too.

All of us with mood disorders are in this together.  Let’s compare notes, friends.

Lots of love to everyone as the holidays approach.

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