About Mental Illness
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can seriously affect a person's life, as well as the lives of their family and friends.
The onset of schizophrenia usually takes place in the late teens or early 20's - sometimes later for women. Around the world, approximately 1% of the population -- or one in a hundred people - will experience some form of schizophrenia.
Even though schizophrenia is rare, its early onset and the lifelong disability it brings to people affected, including their families, make schizophrenia one of the most catastrophic mental illnesses.
The name 'schizophrenia' has its roots the ancient Greek language, where two words meaning 'split' and 'mind' were combined. This explains the common misconception is that schizophrenia is a "multiple personality" - which is a very rare disorder and completely unrelated to schizophrenia.
Schizoaffective disorder is a confusing, and often frightening mental illness. For the person suffering from the disease, as well as those close to them, the experience of schizoaffective disorder can be a chronic roller-coaster ride of symptoms and problems.
The disease may actually be more challenging to live with than either of its root diseases, schizophrenia or affective disorders -- which include bipolar disorder.
Although a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder is quite rare - just 5% of serious mental illness diagnosis -- some researchers believe that the disorder is more widespread and that many people are given a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder when schizoaffective disorder would be the most accurate diagnosis. All of which make schizoaffective disorder one of the most confusing and controversial diagnostic categories in psychiatry.
Like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the onset of schizoaffective disorder usually takes place in early adulthood. Women seem to suffer from the illness more often than men, but research on the disorder is scarce.