The bipolar type of schizoaffective disorder is characterized by the symptoms of two combined mental illnesses: schizophrenia, marked by hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking; and bipolar disorder, marked by mood changes that cycle from depression to mania, explains WebMD. Schizoaffective disorder is a serious brain disorder that distorts the way a person perceives reality, thinks, manages emotions and relates to others.
Schizophrenic symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include psychotic manifestations such as hearing voices (hallucinations) or holding bizarre beliefs that are not true (delusions), along with odd behavior, disorganized thinking and speech, slow movement or catatonia, and flat facial expressions or tone of voice, according to WebMD.
The bipolar component of schizoaffective disorder includes mood swings between depressive lows and manic highs. A depressive mood displays in feelings of worthlessness, loss or gain of appetite, restlessness, loss of interest in typical activities or suicidal thoughts, explains WebMD. A manic mood displays in an increase in activity, whether related to work, hobbies or sex; rapid, racing thoughts or speech; little need for sleep; inflated self-esteem; or self-destructive and dangerous behaviors such as unsafe sex, reckless driving or spending binges.
The schizophrenic and bipolar components of schizoaffective disorder may occur together or cycle in and out, while also varying in intensity, explains Mayo Clinic. The severity of the symptoms vary from person to person. WebMD explains that there is no cure for schizoaffective disorder, though the symptoms often can be managed and controlled with proper treatment.