• Mary

Noises and Voices: Schizophrenia Vs Schizoaffective Disorder

Updated: Jul 28

Back in 2001, “A Beautiful Mind” was released in movie theatres. The movie was based on the life of an American mathematician named John Forbes Nash, Jr., a Nobel Laureate in Economics and Abel Prize winner. An acclaimed mathematician who came up with 23 scientific studies, his theorems have made everything from currency trading to shipping and retail more efficient. Amidst all that, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was hospitalized at the age of 31.

What kind of mental condition is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia, though studied for years and years by doctors, remains to be elegant as there is still no known cause. Some findings conclude that perhaps it is some type of brain chemical such as glutamate and dopamine that may play a role. Taking mind-altering drugs can also be a factor that may trigger this mental health condition. It may also be caused by a mother's exposure, while pregnant, to certain viruses. There is also genetic component to schizophrenia, with illness seen sometimes to run families. The signs and symptoms of this mental disorder vary in those who experience the condition and some are:

  • Psychosis, losing touch of reality.

  • Hallucinations, hearing things that are not real.

  • Delusions, believing in things that are not true.

For those who have not seen “A Beautiful Mind,” we may end up wondering how John Nash, Jr., dealt with his mental condition? In sum, 1959, John Nash, Jr., was hospitalized because of various instances where he just couldn’t understand, nor control the voices he heard, the sightings he saw which made him seem delusional. Alas while submitted in the hospital, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Nash gradually learned how to manage his condition, took some medication and went back to doing work and taught audit courses at Princeton. Life went on. Sometimes, all there is to do is to acknowledge that we have a problem, get professional help so that we may identify exactly what is bothering us and then deal with the condition head-on.

However, when physical appointments with mental health professionals are impossible, we can also try to look into the various online mental health support that is available out there for us. Telehealth service has now taken flight as the most popular choice to seek for online mental health counselling as it can be done in the comfort of our homes.

Schizophrenia Vs Schizoaffective Disorder: The similarity and differences

Now that we have covered what schizophrenia is, let’s take a look at its difference and similarities with Schizoaffective Disorder. In some sense it is the same signs and symptoms of schizophrenia but with a mixture of mood disorders. Not only can a person who suffers schizoaffective disorder hallucinate, lose touch of reality and imagine things that are not there, they also suffer from extreme mood swings, depressive disorder or manic symtoms. The cause may be directed from genetics, brain chemistry and structure, environment and is also related to the use of psychoactive or psychotropic drugs.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder that are likened to Schizophrenia:

  • Delusions

  • Hallucinations

Signs and Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder that are unlike Schizophrenia of which relates to the effects of this mental health condition on the mood of the person:

  • Significant depressive episodes which are assosciated with psychotic symptoms.

  • Mania or sudden mood changes that are out-of-character

Mental health and wellness can be achieved if we acknowledge that the problem exists. We can only begin to heal when we allow ourselves to dig into the deepest roots of the cause of the problem. Most of the time, this will require help.

If help is too far or physical appearance is impossible, there are online telehealth services that are available out there.

In sum, during our lowest and our most vulnerable times, we should remember that there is nothing wrong if we reach out to get professional mental health support. And if we get to the point where we think this may be the best solution for us, when friends and family can’t provide the help they want to give , we can always get advice and guidance from our doctors. Our doctors, GPs can help us find the most appropriate psychology and psychiatry services for us. If you or someone you care for experiences symptoms such as those we have discussed in this article on schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, speak with your doctor to see what help is at hand.


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This is not an emergency service. Same day consults are not available. If you are in distress please contact your nearest emergency department, your local area mental health service triage or dial "000".  

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