Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, lack of concentration, low motivation, and an inability to experience pleasure and depression.  Schizoaffective disorder can be damaging to both your personal and professional life. 
The average age of diagnosis for schizoaffective disorder can vary, but typically occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood, between the ages of 16 and 30.  Schizoaffective disorder is a lifelong disorder, but individuals can work on symptom management to live rewarding lives. 
Does schizoaffective disorder get worse as you get older?
That said, more often than not, symptoms improve steadily over the course of a person’s life and many people who were diagnosed with schizoaffective order in their youth no longer show symptoms from middle age onwards. 
While there is no cure for schizoaffective disorder, the illness can go into remission. Remission is a period in which a person does not experience symptoms.
Early intervention and treatment are essential in achieving remission. An effective treatment plan can improve an affected person’s quality of life, minimize disruption caused to their working life, and help manage schizoaffective disorder symptoms moving forward.
It’s essential for individuals with schizoaffective disorder to work closely with mental health professionals. Individuals with schizoaffective disorder need to be open about their symptoms to give themselves the best chance of developing a successful, bespoke treatment plan.
It can help to keep a record of symptoms, their severity, and any noticeable triggers or patterns. This can help individuals and their healthcare provider recognize any harmful trends and amend their treatment plan accordingly.
What happens if schizoaffective disorder is left untreated?
If left untreated, schizoaffective disorder can lead to various negative consequences and complications.
Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can intensify and become more severe over time. Individuals may experience hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking or speech, major mood episodes, and difficulty functioning in daily life.
Sufferers can become increasingly isolated, struggle with employment, and lose their ability to care for themselves. 
Ignoring your schizoaffective disorder may have worse consequences still. As many as 5% of people with a psychotic disorder will commit suicide over the course of their lifetime, with psychotic disorders being responsible for 10% of all suicides. 
Tips for managing schizoaffective disorder as you age
Managing schizoaffective disorder as you age requires a solid treatment plan, self-discipline, and a good support system. Here are some tips that may be useful:
- Follow your treatment plan: Once you’ve established an effective treatment plan, stay consistent with it. Take medications as directed by your physician and regularly attend therapy sessions. Constantly work on optimizing your treatment plan with your doctor to ensure it remains effective as you age.
- Be healthy: Focus on maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. This includes getting regular exercise, eating a nutritious and balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and avoiding substances that can exacerbate symptoms, such as alcohol or recreational drugs.
- Establish a support system: Surround yourself with a support system that understands and can provide emotional support. This may include family, friends, support groups, or mental health professionals. Mental health disorders can feel isolating and frustrating; regularly engaging in therapycan provide valuable support and coping strategies.
- Manage stress: Learn stress management techniques that work for you, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, or engaging in hobbies and activities that help you relax and unwind.
- Educate yourself: Learn more about schizoaffective disorder, including its symptoms, triggers, and treatment options. Understanding yourmental health condition can empower you to actively participate in your own care and make informed decisions.
Remember, individual experiences with schizoaffective disorder can vary, so it’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized plan that addresses your specific needs and circumstances.
- Facts about Schizoaffective disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved June 21, 2023, from https://www.mirecc.va.gov/visn22/Schizoaffective_Disorder_Veteran_and_Family_Handout.pdf
- Wy TJP, Saadabadi A. Schizoaffective Disorder. [Updated 2023 Mar 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541012/
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