Sleep Deprivation Psychosis Misdiagnosed As Schizoaffective

I’ve had a number of psychosis from stying awake for extended periods of time, I never get the psychosis out of the blue from day to day life, it’s always from sleep deprivation. Yet I have been diagnosed as Schizoaffective. There have been studies that show 24 hours of no sleep leads to symptoms of schizophrenia in normally healthy people. Has anyone else had sleep deprivation psychosis misdiagnosed as Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective?

Welcome @XVXN

If you find yourself in need of help, just tag a moderator. Type the @ symbol, then our names

@anon4362788 , @Ninjastar , @Moonbeam, @rogueone, and @Bowens

Enjoy your stay with us!

1 Like

Hi @XVXN . I believe that @Ninjastar has some experience in this area of inquiry, if I’m not mistaken and if they are around and care to comment.


Are you on any meds?

I was diagnosed with schizophrenia for about 7 years before a specialist sent me for a sleep study and discovered i had a sleep disorder that caused me to hallucinate from chronic sleep deprivation. Life is much better now that my sleep disorder is being treated.


Haloperidol and Epilum

1 Like

Interesting, did you have delusions? Did you stop taking medications when you found out it was sleep related?

I went to court before i was involuntarily committed ( i didnt do anything wrong probably just scared the people at the hospital ) but anyways the lawyer that was assigned to me tried to get me out of the hospital based off of sleep deprivation

1 Like

I still take medications, but they are targeted towards treating my sleep disorder. I also have to do a whole bunch of restrictive sleep hygiene things, including being awake by 6:30 AM every day no matter what. I no longer need an antipsychotic, but it took about 8 months to slowly taper down.

I wanted to stay on my AP, but my doc refused because I was starting to develop TD. He said if i relapse he will only allow clozapine, since that has the lowest association with TD. So far I have not relapsed though, so that’s good.


Welcome to the forum!

1 Like

Did your psychosis’s only happen when you weren’t sleeping?

It was constant, but so was my sleep deprivation. Now that i am sleeping, i don’t have any issues.

1 Like

Any issues with psychosis, i mean. Im sure anyone here can attest that i still have issues :rofl:

1 Like

If you think you were misdiagnosed then just focus on getting proper sleep

1 Like

So, you don’t have mental illness @Ninjastar?

1 Like

What side effects do you get from your sleep medication?
Also what test did they use to detect your sleep problems?

What happened while you were taking ap, were you sleeping well on ap?

Okay I’m gonna do the whole explanation now. The diagnosis I was given is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. It is a disorder of connective tissue that can cause a whole host of issues throughout life. It is super rare, so please don’t all go rushing to think this is what you have.

I actually got referred to a geneticist through sheer luck because I saw an orthopedist who happened to be familiar with the disease, and he saw the traits right away. There are some distinct physical features associated with it, and I had almost every single one.

It is known to cause sleep apnea in people who would not otherwise be at risk. So I went for the sleep study, and I had sleep apnea.

It is also known to cause POTS, which is a condition where your blood pressure starts low, and then drops rapidly and causes you to pass out at odd times. My resting BP was usually 90/60 and rarely got up to 100/70.

It also causes pretty sever pain, which I’ve had most of my life but thought was normal because everyone in my family also had it (this is a genetic disease). That was causing me to toss and turn all night because I couldn’t get comfortable.

My particular case was even more complicated because I had a brain tumor as a child, located directly in my pineal gland, which is responsible for sleep regulation. Part of my gland was removed, so I never really slept much as a child. To cope, my parents would give me nyquil nearly every night from age 5 onwards, and I developed a pretty bad dependence that has been hard to quit.

My current treatment protocol:

In the morning, I take a stomach medicine, joint pain medicine, and a med to raise my blood pressure. This makes it so I can eat and drink properly without getting sick, and my blood pressure stays high enough to keep me stable and alert all day.

I have to go to physical therapy twice a week to learn entirely new ways of moving, that don’t aggravate my joints. I have to wear customized braces that stop my joints from hyperextending and accidentally getting dislocated. I have to wear stupid specialized shoes that stop me from walking the way I like walking, and force me to walk in a way that keeps my joints in line. This part is my least favorite.

In the evening, I take a med for helping my joints and nerves, and I have to sleep with a C-PAP machine, in specialized braces to stop me from dislocating joints in my sleep. I have to be in bed by 9:30 every night, and if I don’t fall asleep within ten minutes I have to get up and do light exercise for twenty minutes and then try again. Regardless of how much I slept, I have to wake up by 6:30 AM and not take naps.


I also have to do sensory therapy, because sensory dysregulation is common in folks with EDS. People with EDS usually also get diagnosed with autism, because our nerves send the wrong signals to our brains. Everything is slightly off, which makes us clumsy, and much stronger, which makes us overly sensitive. This can be mistaken as a mood disorder, because the overstimulation makes us more irritable. There’s really no official place in my area to go for sensory therapy, but I spent ten years working in special education so I know how to do this on my own.


This is a trickier question to answer. I have a lot of mental health struggles for sure. I have my whole life. And I definitely was in active psychosis for many years. I also had a significant head injury under violent circumstances. That caused a lot of damage to my brain, and not all of it is reversible.

Psychology as a field is constantly evolving to find better explanations and more targeted treatments for people’s issues. In my particular case, my current treatment protocol is helping me better than previous ones did. At the time, though, my previous treatment protocol saved my life. I am eternally grateful for my 7 years on Geodon.


Current theory on why geodon helped my case: it sedated me, which led to better sleep quality. It dulled my senses, which led to less overstimulation and therefore made it easier to regulate my mood. It needed to be taken with food, which kept me eating regularly and stopped blood pressure dips.

I think geodon was a fantastic med for me and I sometimes miss how much cheaper and easier it was to just take a pill twice a day than it is to do all this extra work. I sometimes consider switching back, when things are harder. The main thing that stops me is that my pdoc won’t let me and i dont want to go find a new one.