Korean J Schizophr Res.  2012 Jun;15(1):5-12. 10.16946/kjsr.2012.15.1.5.

Schizoaffective Disorder

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. andreas.marneros@medizin.uni-halle.de


Schizoaffective disorders are a controversially discussed but existing nosological category describing an episodic condition meeting the criteria of both schizophrenia and mood disorders and lying on a continuum between these two prototypes. Both DSM-IV and ICD-10 classify them within the group of "schizophrenia, schizotypal and delusional disorders" with ICD-10 not requiring the absence of mood symptoms for a certain time. Cross-sectionally, schizoaffective disorder can be subdivided into schizodepressive, schizomanic and mixed types. In a longitudinal way, unipolar and bipolar types are distinguished. The division into schizo-dominated and mood dominated types is based on the severity and dominance of the schizophreniform symptomatology and implies significant consequences for treatment and prognosis. In addition, concurrent types should be differentiated from sequential types. Schizoaffective disorder is not rare; lifetime prevalence is estimated at 0.3%. About one third of all psychotic patients suffer from schizoaffective disorder. About two thirds of the patients do not only have schizoaffective episodes but also pure schizophreniform or mood episodes or episodes of acute and transient psychotic disorder. In more than 50% of the patients, symptoms remit more or less completely. The others suffer from light, moderate or severe residual states, which might affect their social adaptation. The suicide rate in schizoaffective disorder is about 12%. The treatment of schizoaffective disorder primarily is a combination of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers or antidepressants. Long-term prophylactic treatment mainly consists of antipsychotics and mood stabilizers. Differential diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder is not at all easy. It must be distinguished from psychotic mood disorder, where the psychotic symptoms are mood-congruent. Although DSM-IV allows even mood-incongruent psychotic symptoms in psychotic mood disorder, these cases should better be allocated to schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder must also be distinguished from schizophrenia with mood symptoms. In the latter, the mood symptoms are not complete and not so prominent to meet the criteria of a mood episode, or they occur after the schizophreniform have remitted. Sometimes, schizoaffective disorder is mixed up with acute and transient psychotic disorder, although these two conditions do not have very much in common.


Schizoaffective disorder; Definition; Diagnosis

MeSH Terms

Affective Disorders, Psychotic
Antidepressive Agents
Antipsychotic Agents
Diagnosis, Differential
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
International Classification of Diseases
Mood Disorders
Psychotic Disorders
Antidepressive Agents
Antipsychotic Agents
Full Text Links
  • KJSR
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
    DB Error: unknown error