How can you tell the difference between schizoaffective vs schizophrenia?

What are the differences?

I read that schizophrenia can have mania and depression as symptoms. What’s the main differences of the two?

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From my understanding the difference is schizoaffective has mood symptoms that go along with the schizophrenia, but schizophrenia is just by itself. Schizoaffective is when you have both schizophrenia and either depression or bipolar disorder.


in sza the moods meet criteria for depression/mania and last longer
in sz the moods are shorter-lived and don’t meet criteria for mania/depression

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Schizoaffective disorder is similar to schizophrenia. In schizoaffective disorder, though, there are also times when there is mania and/or depression along with the hallucinations or delusions. It differs from schizophrenia in that the mood symptoms are pronounced; and it differs from bipolar disorder and depression in that the psychosis has a pattern independent of mood state. There are two types: the bipolar type and the depressive type. It can be very difficult to distinguish these two disorders. It relies in part on the clinician making a determination of which symptoms are primary - the psychotic or the mood symptoms. If a person definitely met all of criteria A for schizophrenia while also meeting the symptoms for a mood disorder, then the diagnosis should be schizoaffective, but, of course, it’s rarely that straight forward.

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