Schizoaffective Disorder Symptoms

The formal diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder rests on these symptoms, which can be evaluated by psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Also see the section on the ICD approach, “Schizoaffective Disorders: ICD”.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective Disorder is, in effect, a cross between a disturbance in thought and a disturbance in mood. Both symptom clusters (depressive/manic and schizophrenic) must exist at the same time (comorbid) to justify a diagnosis of this disorder. The following specific diagnostic criteria are reproduced verbatim (except for codings, page references, and cross-references to other pages on this site) from the DSM-IV, the immediate predessor of the current DSM-IV TR (where ‘IV TR’ indicates fourth edition, text revision).

Diagnostic Criteria for Schizoaffective Disorder

A. An uninterrupted period of illness during which, at some time, there is either:

  1. a Major Depressive Episode,
  2. a Manic Episode, or
  3. a Mixed Episode

concurrent with symptoms that meet (4) Criterion A for Schizophrenia.

Note: The Major Depressive Episode must include depressed mood.

(1) Criteria for Major Depressive Episode

[Available separately: “Major Depressive Episode Symptoms”.]

(3) Criteria for Mixed Episode

[Available separately: “Mixed Episode Symptoms”.]

(4) Criterion A for Schizophrenia

Two (or more) of the following, each present for a significant portion of time during a 1-month period (or less if successfully treated):

  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
  • grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition

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Only one symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person’s behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.

B. During the same period of illness, there have been delusions or hallucinations for at least 2 weeks in the absence of prominent mood symptoms.

C. Symptoms that meet criteria for a mood episode are present for a substantial portion of the total duration of the active and residual periods of the illness.

D. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

Specify if:

  • Bipolar Type: if the disturbance includes a Manic or a Mixed Episode (or a Manic or a Mixed Episode and Major Depressive Episodes)
  • Depressive Type: if the disturbance only includes Major Depressive Episode

Associated features

  • Learning Problem
  • Hypoactivity
  • Psychotic
  • Euphoric Mood
  • Depressed Mood
  • Somatic/Sexual Dysfunction
  • Hyperactivity
  • Guilt/Obsession
  • Odd/Eccentric/Suspicious Personality
  • Anxious/Fearful/Dependent Personality
  • Dramatic/Erratic/Antisocial Personality

All clinical material on this site is peer reviewed by one or more qualified mental health professionals. This specific article was originally published by on and was last reviewed or updated by Dr Greg Mulhauser, Managing Editor on .

Our material is not intended as a substitute for direct consultation with a qualified mental health professional. Please seek professional advice if you are experiencing any mental health concern.

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