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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
i_am_me_again Offline
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Doctors messing me about - March 29th 2010, 06:32 PM

They keep changing my illness. One month I have schizophrenia, then
today I asked the doctor my illness and she said I have schizo-affective disorder accompanied by Borderline PD.


Whats the difference between schizophrenia and schizo-affective disorder and why do they keep changing it.

Pisses me off.

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Re: Doctors messing me about - March 29th 2010, 07:17 PM

From what I've learned about Schizo-affective Disorder, it's main difference from Schizophrenia is that it has a mood disorder aspect to it -Depressive or Bipolar type. It's generally considered a TYPE of Schizophrenia, but you experience episodes of major depression or in the bipolar case you experience manic episodes with or without depression.
Your doctors may keep changing your diagnosis because this is a particularly hard disorder to diagnose because it can so similarly resemble both Schizophrenia or a serious mood disorder. Depending on the extent of your symptoms and the length of time you've had them, you may find your doctors bouncing between both Schizophrenia and Schizo-affective disorder until they can get an accurate depiction of what exactly you're experiencing. This is especially true when you have Schizophrenia or Schizo-Affective Disorder accompanied by another mental illness. Just imagine all the different feelings and symptoms you're having, your doctors have to try and decipher every single individual symptom and depending on the duration of each symptom place it in a category and will hopefully lead to an accurate diagnosis. I say "hopefully" not to imply that doctors aren't accurate but as I'm sure you know, putting someone into a specific diagnosis when there are so many symptoms ; often conflicting ones going on is extremely difficult. Just hang in there, if your doctors are narrowing things down with your current diagnosis then you should be very close to finding exactly what you have and getting the proper treatment for it.
Good Luck!

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Re: Doctors messing me about - March 29th 2010, 10:31 PM

Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder have a lot of symptoms which crossover, so sometimes it's very difficult to tell the difference between the two when there's a limited amount of information to go on. To make matters worse, they also share a large number of symptoms with other mental health problems such as bipolar or certain depressive disorders, so sometimes it can be quite a minefield trying to work out what the actual disorder is. As Stacey said, the main difference between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder is that schizoaffective disorder has more of a mood episode element to instances of psychosis, whereas schizophrenia has psychosis with little or no mood episode connection. It is a very hazy distinction, and medical science is still unclear on where the boundary line is, and this is why the diagnosis can chop and change.
I can understand how it feels like they're messing you about, but this is a step in the diagnosis process and as Stacey pointed out it means they're getting closer to pinning it down. Once they have more experience with your symptoms and are able to do that, things will be much more straightforward. In the meantime, hang on in there and remember that they're getting closer to finding the right treatment for you.
Take care.
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Re: Doctors messing me about - March 30th 2010, 02:43 AM

Schizophrenia and schizo-affective are essentially on a continuum because they share so much in common, it's hard to reliably conclude someone has schizophrenia or schizo-affective unless they're standing out like a sore thumb. They're probably flopping back and forth because your behavior and psychiatric history is very near the benchmark for schizo-affective, so minor changes set you in one way or the other. The doctors aren't changing your diagnosis simply to keep themselves entertained.

BPD (assume you mean borderline) fits in because like the schizo-affective, it too has an emotional component, however, the problem is if I recall correctly, there are 9 criteria and you only need about 4-5, so what criteria you are fulfilling is unknown. All one can say is knowing the general symptoms of BPD, one can say you have something of those that is chronic (hence a personality disorder).
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Re: Doctors messing me about - March 30th 2010, 08:53 AM


Unfortunately, psychology is not an exact science. It can take a lot of tries to find a compatible Psychologist, it can take a lot of tries to find the right medication and it can take a lot of time to get the right diagnosis. :/

Schizoaffective is like Bipolar and Schizophrenia combined. Borderline personality disorder is something that can be confused with Bipolar. Borderline is named borderline because those patients are supposedly on the border of schizophrenia. So that group of disorders is one big ball of mess because there is so much overlapping.

I think the problem is that human knowledge just isn't advanced enough yet to understand the systems of our minds completely. Personally, I don't think we even have the right set of concepts yet in which to understand ourselves. Therefore, we cannot create simple, quick ways of diagnosing mental problems. Also, with mental problems, there are no objective scientific tests like there are with medical problems. You can't just have a test run at a lab and have empirical evidence.

One thing that complicates matters extremely, at least in the USA, is that even though it takes a very long time to get an accurate diagnosis (years in some cases!) they MUST diagnose you with SOMETHING on your very first visit - or else they cannot collect payments for the visits. So, imagine the kind of stupid, inaccurate guesses that are generated because they haven't had anywhere near enough time to evaluate you but yet are forced to pull something out of their rear ends.

Maybe you should try asking your psychologist the same question and see what they say.
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Re: Doctors messing me about - April 4th 2010, 05:35 AM

Its not so much they have to diagnose something first, but think of it as climbing a mountain for a first time. Though you have climbed other mountains and know the general algorithm to reaching the peak, each mountain must be tackled in different manner. You survey the terrain, watch the weather, and decidedly make the first step (aka the first diagnosis). If things improve, continue. if things seem too risky or wrong, try another attack angle (a new or different diagnosis).

Such is the field of psychology.
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