Crownview Psychiatric Institute exists to help adults who have been experiencing acute symptoms of schizoaffective disorder and other complex mental health concerns.

Many of our clients have struggled with social withdrawal and isolation, and many have histories of unsuccessful treatment experiences.

We offer a dynamic combination of therapy, medication, educational sessions, adjunct services, and true wraparound support. Throughout their time with us, our clients also benefit greatly from our community-like environment.

In addition to helping our clients better manage the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, we also focus on developing the skills they need to establish the greatest possible degree of personal independence.

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

As its name suggests, schizoaffective disorder shares some characteristics with schizophrenia.

To be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a person must first meet part of the criteria for schizophrenia as established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The individual must have least two of the following five types of symptoms (and one of the symptoms must be one of the first three listed below):

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Grossly disorganized behaviors
  • Negative symptoms

In addition to these symptoms, a person who has schizoaffective disorder will also have one or both of the following types of episodes:

  • Major depressive episodes
  • Manic episodes

We’ll discuss these symptoms and episodes in greater detail in the next section.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

A person who has schizoaffective disorder will experience two of the five symptom types that are associated with schizophrenia. One of the symptom types they develop must be either hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized speech.

Here’s what these five symptom types may feel like or look like:


A person who has delusions will cling rigidly to beliefs that are demonstrably false or obviously disconnected from reality. For example, they may believe with absolute certainty that they are in a loving relationship with a famous person (who they have never actually met). Another common delusion is the belief that the person is under constant surveillance by the government, secret agents, or some other shadowy operatives.


Hallucinations are perceptions without actual stimuli. In other words, people who have hallucinations sense things that are not really there. Hallucinations can involve any of the five senses. The two most common types of hallucinations are auditory and visual:

  • Auditory hallucinations involve voices or other types of sounds that no one else can hear. A person who has auditory hallucinations may believe that the sound is either coming from an external location or originating from inside their own head. In the latter case, though, they will still believe that the voice is separate from their own thoughts.
  • A person who has visual hallucinations may see patterns of light, objects, or even people – even though none of these actually exist. In some cases, visual hallucinations and auditory hallucinations occur at the same time. For example, a person might see someone who isn’t there, then hear that person speak to them. In all cases, the person who is having the hallucination will believe that what they are seeing is, indeed, real.

Though less common, a person with schizoaffective disorder can also have hallucinations that involve their sense of smell (olfactory), touch (tactile), or taste (gustatory).

Disorganized speech

People who exhibit disorganized speech will have extreme difficulty expressing their thoughts and/or communicating with others. Examples of disorganized speech may include the following:

  • Repeating certain words or sounds over and over again
  • Responding to a question with statements that are completely unrelated to what was asked
  • Randomly witching among several unrelated topics while speaking
  • Speaking in a manner that is impossible to understand

Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior

Behaviors that fall within this symptom category can include the following:

  • Holding their body in strange and seemingly uncomfortable positions
  • Standing motionless for long periods of time
  • Moving in an abnormal manner
  • Talking to themselves or randomly shouting at strangers
  • Dressing oddly and/or inappropriately

Negative symptoms

Negative symptoms involve a lack of motivation, interaction, and/or action. Examples of negative symptoms can include the following:

  • Demonstrating no interest in making friends or even associating with others
  • Not wanting to leave the house
  • Speaking with a flat, monotone affect
  • Employing few or no facial expressions
  • Lacking the ability to experience joy or pleasure

In addition to exhibiting some or all of the five symptom types listed above, a person who has schizoaffective disorder will also go through periods of mania or major depression. This is what these episodes can feel like to the person who experiences them, or look like to others:

Major depressive episodes

During a major depressive episode, a person may feel overwhelming sadness, despair, and hopelessness. They may sleep virtually all the time or hardly at all. They may eat much more or less than usual, which can result in unintentional weight gain or loss.

No matter how much they have eaten and slept, they may struggle with fatigue, weakness, and an overall lack of motivation. They may be unable to perform basic tasks like showering, combing their hair, or even getting out of bed. Major depressive episodes can also include recurrent thoughts of death and dying.

Major depressive episodes last for at least two weeks.

Manic episodes

During a manic episode, a person will act energetically and impulsively.

Their elevated self-confidence and motivation may prompt them to set unrealistic goals and launch multiple major projects that have little to no likelihood of actually being completed. Their impulsivity can include spending sprees, eating binges, substance abuse, compulsive gambling, and dangerous sexual behaviors.

They will be easily distracted and extremely talkative, and they won’t usually sleep very much. These symptoms will persist for at least a week.

Schizoaffective Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

The similarity between schizoaffective disorder and other mental illnesses can complicate the effort to accurately diagnose a person with this condition. It can also make it difficult for friends and family members to understand what their loved one is going through.

We have already discussed symptoms that schizoaffective disorder shares with schizophrenia. In this section, we’ll take a look at the shared characteristics of schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder.

Schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder are sometimes confused with each other because both conditions can cause a person to have manic episodes and major depressive episodes. Also, when a person with bipolar disorder is in the midst of a manic episode, they can experience delusions – although delusions are not a requirement for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

The similarities among these disorders have even prompted some mental health experts to discuss if the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder should be revised, recategorized, or eliminated.

Unless – or until – changes are made in either the DSM or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), here is an extremely simplified summary of the distinctions among schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder:

  • Schizophrenia is categorized as a psychotic disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder is categorized as a mood disorder.
  • Schizoaffective disorder has some psychotic symptoms (such as hallucinations, delusions, and disordered speech) and some mood symptoms (manic and major depressive episodes).

Effects of Untreated Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder can have a negative impact on a person’s physical, psychological, and socioeconomic well-being. The following are examples of the many potential effects of this condition:

  • Lack of meaningful relationships
  • Health problems due to poor self-care or inability to follow medical advice
  • Onset of co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Being arrested and jailed because of aggressive behaviors
  • Substance use
  • Unemployment
  • Inability to establish financial independence
  • Being harassed, bullied, or taken advantage of
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Treatment for Schizoaffective Disorder at CPI

Depending on each person’s specific needs, their comprehensive treatment for schizoaffective disorder at Crownview Psychiatric Institute may incorporate medication, therapy, adjunct services, education, and wraparound support.


All adults who receive care for schizoaffective disorder at Crownview Psychiatric Institute have regular meetings with a psychiatrist. If necessary, the psychiatrist can prescribe antipsychotics or other types of medication.   


The therapeutic aspect of treatment for schizoaffective disorder at CPI may include a variety of options, including but not limited to the following:

  • Acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT)
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy

Adjunct Services

In addition to the many types of therapy we offer, we can also supplement a person’s care with an array of adjunct services. Depending on the scope of each person’s needs, we may recommend services such as psychological testing, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, GeneSight testing, or other options.


To help our clients can achieve the highest possible level of independence, we offer both life skills and work skills education.

  • Life skills sessions focus on topics such as time management, diet and nutrition, grooming and hygiene, housekeeping, and personal finances.
  • During work skills sessions, our clients can explore job options, participate in employment workshops, take part in mock interviews, and receive personal career coaching.

Wraparound Support

Experienced case managers oversee each client’s care at CPI. Our case managers also assist clients with independent living skills such as navigating the public transportation system, connecting with community-based services, and applying for benefits.

Community & Connection

Schizoaffective disorder can undermine a person’s ability to connect with others. When clients with this disorder arrive at our center, many have given up hope that they will ever find a place where they feel like they truly fit in.

At CPI, they find that place.

We work closely with each person to improve their communication and socialization capabilities. We also offer structured and supported opportunities for our clients to share support with each other and form healthy friendships.

Adults who receive care at Crownview Psychiatric Institute benefit from an innovative combination of clinical care, adjunct services, and education, all provided within a welcoming and supportive community.

Learn More Today

If someone in your life needs comprehensive treatment for schizoaffective disorder, please contact Crownview Psychiatric Institute. A member of our team can provide you with additional details about our programs, services, and admissions process. They can also answer any questions you have, so that you are empowered to make the best decisions for you loved one.