I’ve posted about this on twitter to some extent, but I’m sure not everyone follows me to know what’s going on.
Anyway, during the last appointment with my therapist we discussed several things – including my recent hallucinations and some from the past, along with my paranoia and some other symptoms I’ve been experiencing. She informed me that I may have Schizoaffective Disorder, bipolar type…
Apparently, if you experience psychosis outside of a mood episode, that’s more-so schizophrenic than Bipolar Disorder. I was previously diagnosed having Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic features, but the psychosis is supposed to be attached to an episode – which is usually a manic one.
However, I can’t be (only) schizophrenic, because I definitely have a severe mood disorder which matches bipolar disorder very well.
This is where Schizoaffective disorder comes in. From what I understand, it’s similar to having schizophrenia – but with a mood disorder. In my case, the mood disorder is bipolar — hence the “bipolar type” diagnosis. I suppose that makes sense, since I have been experiencing a lot of the other symptoms outside of episodes.
So what does that result in?
She ended up talking to my psychiatrist, since she can’t make an official diagnosis. And I got a call back the next day asking me to come in.
But before I go into that fully, I’ll also let you know that I looked this up and asked some people for their opinion etc. — and I leaned towards agreeing with it, before even seeing the psychiatrist. A friend also told me that she suspected more than just bipolar disorder with me for years, but was afraid to offend me if she told me… this both upset me and made me glad, because I thought maybe it explained some things and I could possibly get better treatment if the diagnosis is more accurate.
So before I went to the psychiatrist, I wrote down more details about my experiences and opinion on the matter. When I went, I handed him about 4 pages of notes to read as we discussed it. I won’t bore you with all the details, especially since I didn’t say a whole lot that day. However, he basically told me it is either Schizoaffective bipolar type, or Bipolar with psychotic features (which again, I’ve already been diagnosed with) ..
The interesting thing was that he made a point — it didn’t matter too much what the diagnosis was in my case, because the treatment would be the same. I’m already on a mood stabilizer and taking an anti-psychotic.
But we were concerned about the psychosis.
We talked about the meds for a while, as he listed off the seemingly millions that I’ve already been on.
In the end, we decided to just increase my Risperdal dose for now to see how that goes.
And we’re eventually likely raising my Lamictal as well.
So that’s pretty much it…
It doesn’t seem to matter which diagnosis I have if the treatment is the same.
I’m still the same person, and I’m still dealing with the same thing I have been for years.
I feel the schizoaffective disorder is somehow a harsher term; but maybe that’s just because it’s new to me – or I never thought of myself as having a “schizophrenia” related illness.
Am -I- guilty of stigmatizing it? I hope not; I don’t mean to.
If anyone else has better knowledge about the difference, or opinions, I’d like to hear them!