Managing Anxiety with Schizoaffective Disorder

Author: Liz Colvin


Being a caregiver is a huge responsibility. My adult daughter has survived the rigorous battle of finding the right medication for schizoaffective disorder with her medical provider. However, while managing the mental illness itself, one has to manage the ancillary conditions of stress and anxiety that the illness can cause. Her last psychotic episode was five years ago so fighting stress is a daily task. We look for innovative ways that are not medicinal. We enjoy common things like walking and exercising, and search for good and healthy foods. We’ve attended seminars and have grown to love new recipes like Vegan Spaghetti, Lemon Quinoa, and we have a cookbook called, Grandful Recipes, which can be found on our website.

Several years ago, my daughter was transported to a Mental Health facility and was there for three weeks. She received excellent care and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition that combines symptoms of both schizophrenia and mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder. It is characterized by a combination of psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, along with mood disturbances.

“The exact cause of schizoaffective disorder is not fully understood, but it is believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder typically appear in late adolescence or early adulthood. There are two main types of schizoaffective disorder: Bipolar type involves symptoms of both

schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Individuals with this subtype experience episodes of mania, which include elevated mood, increased energy, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior.

Depressive type combines symptoms of schizophrenia and major depressive disorder. People with this subtype experience episodes of depression, including persistent sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. They also experience periods of psychosis like those seen in schizophrenia.” (i)

Symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can vary from person to person and may include hallucinations: sensing things that aren’t real, such as hearing voices or seeing things that others don’t. My daughter has a previous history of attention deficit disorder due to oxygen deprivation at birth. After her third episode, her condition changes from bipolar 1 to schizoaffective disorder.

“Treatment for schizoaffective disorder typically involves a combination of medication and therapy. Antipsychotic medications are commonly used to manage psychotic symptoms, while mood stabilizers or antidepressants may be prescribed to address mood fluctuations. ”(ii)

Although the illness is being managed with medication, one can find that there is a need for additional treatment to manage the stress of having the illness. There have been recent improvements in mental health treatment in America. For instance, in Texas, there has been a longstanding treatment called Acudetox, which has been used for treating drug and alcohol clients, usually in a treatment facility. “Texas House Representative, Vikki Goodwin (D) co-sponsored the nonpartisan HB 1106 which expanded the providers who can provide Acudetox treatment, and the Senate approved; therefore, SB 919 was passed.” (iii) My daughter and I have both received acudetox treatment with pleasing results, and the costs were reasonable. Being a caregiver is stressful, and the treatment gave me a more restful sleep for several days.

Acudetox is a form of acupuncture. Its formal name is called auricular acudetox, and it consists of five needle points in the ear. Those points are commonly referenced in holistic health, and points at the sympathetic(pain), shenmen (tension), kidney, liver, and lung points. Acudetox has been great in reducing our anxiety and it’s a new form of treatment offered in many states. But before trying any type of treatment check with your medical provider.

We live in a world today were perfection is sought in most situations, whether you work in a large city or in a rural area, disappointment feels the same. I had to learn that when dealing with a person who has a mental illness there is no quick fix. They do not operate on your timeframe. You will learn that you do not have control of another person’s mind. But you can give them Hope.

Remember help is always there. You can locate your local resources, pick up a book, or call NAMI, the National Alliance of Mental Illness, or SAMHSA, which is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health National Hotline. Globally, you can read more great articles from the International Bipolar Foundation.



The content of the International Bipolar Foundation blogs is for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician and never disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read in any IBPF content.

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