A prognosis is the likely course of a medical condition, which in this case is schizoaffective disorder. The prognosis for each mental disorder may differ vastly, although similar disorders may have a similar prognosis. The prognosis of a mental disorder will be different for each individual, including those with the same disorder. This is because the disorder itself is not the only factor that will affect the prognosis, genetic and environmental factors may affect the prognosis of the disorder.
Receiving the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder may seem like the end of the world, however, this is not true. Schizoaffective disorder is a life changing illness, currently, there is no cure; though it can be managed and treated successfully through the use of medication and a wide range of therapy. There are many people with schizoaffective disorder who live happy, successful, and fulfilling lives.
It is typically agreed that the prognosis for schizoaffective disorder lies somewhere between that of schizophrenia and bipolar. This means that those with schizoaffective disorder have a better prognosis than those with schizophrenia, and a worse prognosis than those with bipolar disorder. However, this is not always the case as other factors will influence the prognosis of schizoaffective disorder for each individual. Schizoaffective disorder is an immensely complicated disorder, making it harder to identify and diagnose. As the disorder is highly complicated, it is more difficult to treat which in turn lowers the chance of recovery. Similarly to schizophrenia and bipolar, schizoaffective disorder have higher mortality rates to suicide than the general population. In order to maximise the potential of an individual with schizoaffective disorder having a good prognosis and chance of recovery, early and effective treatment is necessary.
The prognosis of schizoaffective disorder varies at an individual level. Although this disorder it typically serious and chronic, some individuals may find that they experience milder and less frequent episodes of illness. Each and every person with schizoaffective disorder will experience symptoms in different ways. To begin with, those who suffer from this disorder will have a decreased life expectancy of 10 – 15 years due to the association with unhealthy habits and lifestyles, such as a lack of exercise, obesity, substance use and abuse, as well as the potential of the individual committing suicide. If left untreated, the disorder may lead the individual to participate in risky activities whilst becoming dysfunctional in all areas of life, which could result in suicide. The overall rate of suicide for schizoaffective disorder is 10%, which is extremely alarming.
There are many factors which may affect your prognosis. Although some factors which affect your prognosis may be out of your control, some are not; therefore it’s extremely important to be aware of what could affect your prognosis, for better or for worse.
Factors which indicate a good prognosis:
- Older age of onset
- Being female
- Good support system
- Fewer negative symptoms
- High level of functioning prior to onset of illness
- No history of substance abuse
- No family history of schizophrenia / bipolar / schizoaffective disorder
Factors which indicate a poor prognosis:
- History of substance abuse
- Higher number of negative symptoms
- Earlier age of onset
- Inadequate support system / no support system
- Being male
- Low level of functioning prior to the onset of illness
If you or someone you know suffers from schizoaffective disorder, please seek professional treatment immediately. Many people who suffer from schizoaffective disorder can and do lead perfectly normal lives. Although there is no cure for this disorder, with treatment it can be managed effectively. Through the use of medication and therapy, symptoms can be controlled which will allow the individual to function within the real world. With time, the individual themselves and those around them can learn to pay attention to the signs and symptoms of a potential relapse in order to prevent them. Having a good support network is invaluable as other people will be able to assist you with recovering from your mental illness, by identifying a potential relapse or providing you with access to care in case of a relapse or emergency. In conclusion, those who suffer from schizoaffective disorder can lead healthy, fulfilling and normal lives with the use of treatment and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.