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.