Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment in San Diego

Understanding Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental illness that affects a person’s mood and thoughts. Individuals with schizoaffective disorder may experience symptoms of both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, including mania, depression, and psychosis. Schizoaffective disorder symptoms overall with many other mental illnesses, make it challenging to diagnose and increase barriers to treatment. Schizoaffective disorder treatment in San Diego from Alter Mental Health begins with a thorough mental and physical evaluation so clinicians can properly diagnose you and create a personalized treatment plan.

There are two major types of schizoaffective disorder based on which mood disorder is present: depressive type and bipolar type. Bipolar type includes both manic and depressive episodes, while depressive types only include depressive episodes. Schizoaffective disorder can greatly impair the ability to function at work, school, and social settings. Individuals with this disorder have a higher risk of substance abuse problems and dying by suicide.

Mental health treatment in San Diego can help people living with schizoaffective disorder successfully manage their symptoms. Getting treatment early on greatly improves recovery outcomes and reduces the risk of experiencing a mental health crisis. Alter Mental Health in San Diego offers short-term, intensive treatment for mental health crises and emergencies. With 24-hour monitoring, therapy, and medication management, individuals experiencing a schizoaffective disorder crisis can quickly get their mental health under control and build a solid foundation for long-term treatment and recovery.

Symptoms of Schizoaffective Disorder

schizoaffective disorder treatment san diego

Schizoaffective disorder symptoms vary greatly between individuals. Many feel that the disorder exists on a spectrum between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder as both disorders share similar symptoms and because the symptoms vary so greatly. Symptoms can also vary greatly depending on whether the person is experiencing a depressive state, a manic state, or a mixed state. Individuals usually develop symptoms in early adulthood which can worsen if the disorder continues to go untreated.

  • Schizoaffective disorder symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:
  • Hallucinations, including seeing and hearing things that are not there.
  • Delusions, which are false, sometimes strange beliefs a person refuses to give up even when presented with facts.
  • Depression symptoms, such as feeling sad, empty, and worthless.
  • Manic symptoms include sudden, out-of-character jumps in energy levels and happiness, racing thoughts, or risk-taking behavior.
  • Disorganized speech, such as speaking incoherently or jumping from topic to topic.
  • Disorganized behaviors, including behaving like a child or laughing inappropriately during a crisis.

Diagnosing Schizoaffective Disorder in San Diego

Diagnosing schizoaffective disorder can be difficult as it shares symptoms similar to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. A mental health specialist, such as a psychiatrist, has the tools and knowledge to properly diagnose schizoaffective disorder and other mental health disorders. Properly diagnosing schizoaffective disorder involves ruling out other mental health disorders, substance use, and medical conditions which may be causing the symptoms. Diagnosis may include a physical exam, tests, and screenings (such as an MRI or CT scan), and a psychiatric evaluation.

A doctor or mental health professional may use criteria lined out in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-5. To be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a person must exhibit at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Delusions.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Disorganized speech.
  • Catatonic or grossly disorganized behavior.
  • Negative symptoms, such as lack of motivation, flat expressions, or loss of pleasure.

Schizoaffective disorders must have two of the above symptoms plus the following criteria:

  • Delusions or hallucinations for two or more consecutive weeks.
  • A major mood episode, either mania or depression.
  • Mood symptoms are present for the majority of the illness.
  • Symptoms are not caused by substance use.

Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment Options in San Diego

The best course of treatment for schizoaffective disorder in San Diego involves medication management, psychotherapy, and skills training. Medication management helps to stabilize mood and psychotic symptoms, while therapy and skills training helps to improve coping skills and relationships. Getting help from a San Diego mental health clinic can provide individuals with access to all these treatments and more.

However, even with treatment, some individuals with schizoaffective disorder can experience a mental health crisis which can leave them at risk of harming themselves or others, or unable to take care of themselves. These severe cases need around-the-clock monitoring and treatment from clinicians. Alter Mental Health in San Diego offers a crisis stabilization unit to help individuals in these cases get the immediate, intensive care they need to get their mental health back under control and on their way to long-term recovery. Our programs include medication management, various forms of therapy, and holistic treatments to help any type of schizoaffective disorder. Clinicians will also provide clients with a personalized aftercare plan, including referral for ongoing services, so they can continue working on recovery.

Treatment Types for Schizoaffective Disorder

Alter Mental Health in San Diego provides schizoaffective disorder treatment options through holistic, evidence-based therapies. Every client receives personalized treatment plans to address their unique challenges and get them back to daily life as quickly as possible. Our whole-person wellness to treating schizoaffective disorder goes beyond treating only the symptoms to address all areas of a person’s life that may be contributing to or affecting their disorder. Clinicians at Alter Mental Health aim to provide the best possible treatment for each client, including the following therapies:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Along with medication management, various forms of psychotherapy can help individuals manage their schizoaffective disorder symptoms. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a widely used therapy for many types of mental health disorders. Therapists will use CBT to help clients identify and modify beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors which are contributing to symptoms. Clients are also taught how to test the reality of their thoughts and ignore delusions and hallucinations, but also how to manage manic and depressive symptoms. Individuals who undergo CBT can develop better social and problem-solving skills, cope with difficult situations, and reduce the risk of relapse. CBT is also helpful in managing anxiety and depression which are often present in schizoaffective disorder patients.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an effective treatment for individuals with schizoaffective disorder. Clients can learn how to live in the moment through mindfulness instead of reliving negative actions and thoughts from their past. DBT helps individuals accept their problem, rather than judge it, so they can make changes towards more balanced thoughts. Our clients at Alter Mental Health can learn emotional regulations, self-acceptance, and interpersonal skills to reduce symptoms of schizoaffective disorder.

Solution Focused Therapy (SFT)

Alter Mental Health in San Diego provides crisis stabilization for schizoaffective disorder. Our clinicians aim to find ways to help clients quickly regain control of their minds through medication management and various therapies. Solution-focused therapy (SFT) is one form of therapy that can help clients get relief from their symptoms as soon as possible. This future-oriented talk therapy focuses on helping clients describe their problems and use personal resources they already possess to solve those problems. Clients are motivated and empowered to create positive changes in their lives to manage symptoms. Therapists will help clients discover their skills, strengths, and abilities rather than developing them to solve their problems.

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

Getting help for a mental health disorder is not always easy. Individuals may be in denial of their issues or feel they cannot make the changes needed to solve their problems. Motivational interviewing (MI) is a form of therapy that helps clients find their reasons to make changes and develop motivation to make those changes. Alter Mental Health San Diego therapists also use MI to help clients make necessary lifestyle changes and follow through with long-term treatment plans. Schizoaffective disorder is a lifelong battle that requires continued treatment and medication which can be exhausting. Maintaining motivation towards positive changes can help clients live happier lives and reduce the risk of relapse or a mental health crisis.  

San Diego Psychoeducational and Process Groups

Our psychoeducational and process groups at Alter Mental Health San Diego help clients learn, grow, and heal together. Psychoeducational groups are led by one of our therapists to educate clients about their disorders and ways of coping. These groups match clients with similar mental health disorders so they can better understand schizoaffective disorder and ways to manage it, often through cognitive behavior therapy techniques.

Process groups will also be led by trained therapists and aim to help clients deepen their self-awareness and how they can relate to others. Clients can raise their concerns and provide one another with support and feedback. Group therapy is an important tool in the recovery process to help individuals connect with others and reduce isolation. Part of whole-person wellness, psychoeducational and process groups can help our clients build family and community support.

Holistic Practices in San Diego

One of Alter Mental Health San Diego’s unique characteristics is our focus on whole-person wellness. Holistic, evidence-based treatment at our facility aims to go beyond treating the symptoms present to help clients heal on the physical, mental, spiritual, and social levels. We use holistic practices such as nutrition and physical exercise to address all areas of our client’s lives contributing to and being affected by schizoaffective disorder. While schizoaffective disorder treatment programs are centered around evidence-based therapies and medication management, holistic therapies can greatly enhance those methods and reduce the risk of future relapse.

Why Choose Alter Mental Health for Schizoaffective Disorder Treatment in San Diego, CA.

Alter Mental Health San Diego provides short-term crisis stabilization as an alternative to inpatient hospitalization. Schizoaffective disorder can quickly turn into a crisis, and we offer the type of intensive, 24-hour monitoring and treatment needed to stabilize the individual. Our programs not only help to manage the current crisis at hand but also aims to provide the help and resources needed to continue treatment long-term. Clients will receive ongoing referral services before being discharged so they can have a clear plan and tools to continue with mental health services in San Diego as they return to home life.

If you or someone you love are struggling with schizoaffective disorder, Alter Mental Health can help you get on track toward long-term recovery through proper diagnosis, evidence-based therapies, medication management, and personalized holistic treatment plans. Please give us a call today at 866-986-1481 to talk to one of our assessment counselors and begin the admissions process as soon as possible.