Difference between bipolar and schizoaffective

T

twigs

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#1
I was diagnosed for a decade with bipolar and have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder for about 4 years. I know they're supposed to be similar, but what are the differences between the two diagnoses?
 
Prairie Sky

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#2
The main difference as far as I understand, is that while bipolar can involve psychosis, it always goes away between episodes. In schizoaffective disorder, the "schizophrenic" symptoms continue even when your mood is normal.
 
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twigs

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#3
Thanks. Then I guess I should still be diagnosed as bipolar as I've only had psychosis alongside an episode with my moods, as I confirmed with another service user today.
 
Prairie Sky

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#4
On what did they base the change in diagnosis? Just on the fact that you were experiencing psychosis?
 
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twigs

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#5
I can't be sure, tbh. I don't tend to speak with services when I'm psychotic, so they interview my mother and she's unreliable at those times (big dramas between me and my mum sometimes), and as far as I know my pdoc based his conclusions on that and my presentation. Can't be entirely sure, but like I say, I know that I only get psychosis with a significant mood shift. I'm thinking that if it is bipolar, that could be a way of getting my meds reduced to a more tolerable level. I suppose I can raise this with my pdoc and during a second opinion I've got pending.
 
boudreauj4

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#6
They made a change to the diagnostic criteria of schizoaffective disorder when they made the DSM 5. Supposedly they made it clearer and slightly stricter. The DSM powers above, thought that schizoaffective was a more rare disorder that was being over diagnosed. They said that many people who are diagnosed with it are diagnosed wrongly and often are changed to a different diagnosis after a time, making the diagnosis kind of unreliable. That's why they tightened the diagnostic criteria in an attempt to make it more reliable and define it better. I myself was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder that was recently changed to schizophrenia because I didn't really have the affective (mood) symptoms enough to justify the schizoaffective diagnosis acording to the newest DSM5 criteria.
 
shaky

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#7
I ws diagnosed schizo-affective.
When I saw the psychiatrist in April he wondered if I were bipolar instead. He doens't belive that I am ever psychotic. (I sometimes consider I am slightly psychotic, but apparently that isn't a thing - but I know it is).

I think the problem is that I am so weird I don't fit into any categories.
 
Not_Crazy_Yet

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#8
They made a change to the diagnostic criteria of schizoaffective disorder when they made the DSM 5. Supposedly they made it clearer and slightly stricter. The DSM powers above, thought that schizoaffective was a more rare disorder that was being over diagnosed. They said that many people who are diagnosed with it are diagnosed wrongly and often are changed to a different diagnosis after a time, making the diagnosis kind of unreliable. That's why they tightened the diagnostic criteria in an attempt to make it more reliable and define it better. I myself was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder that was recently changed to schizophrenia because I didn't really have the affective (mood) symptoms enough to justify the schizoaffective diagnosis acording to the newest DSM5 criteria.
Both my best friend and my niece are diagnosed schizoaffective as am I. So I guess it could be overdiagnosed. He doesn't get mood swings. I do and my niece does. I'm halfway expecting a change in my diagnosis to either paranoid SZ or disorganized SZ.
 
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#9
I was diagnosed schizoaffective last month and I think they based it on how long your mood symptoms last and how long your psychotic symptoms last. I've just come out of a manic phase with psychotic features into a depressive phase. That's on the way out now and I'm just stuck with the psychosis. But last time I saw my pdoc they were more or less saying different. I think the right diagnosis takes time
 
Not_Crazy_Yet

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#10
I think the right diagnosis takes time
In an ideal world yes it does. I was diagnosed SZA within 2 days of my admission into the looney bin. But they may have interviewed my sister at the hospital or via phone. I know they were in some form of contact with her as we had to have a "family interview" (I think that's what it was called) via phone and they already had her number.