Schizoaffective bipolar disorder is one of two types of Schizoaffective disorders. Both types have two components - mood swings and symptoms of schizophrenia
Which type of Schizoaffective disorder it is depends on the mood component. If manic episodes or manic and depressive episodes are present in the mood component it is likely to be the type known as Schizoaffective bipolar disorder. When only depression is involved in the mood component it is likely to be Schizoaffective depressive disorder type.
Schizoaffective bipolar disorder displays similarities to bipolar I which is the most severe type of bipolar disorder. With bipolar I during manic episodes, some symptoms of schizophrenia are seen such as delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, catatonia and others. However with schizoaffective bipolar disorder, a patient has psychotic symptoms for at least two weeks between episodes during normal phases.
Diagnosis of Schizoaffective bipolar disorder is difficult. Physical symptoms are easier to measure than emotional ones. With this illness symptoms are of an emotional nature which is hard to ascertain accurately and opinion often change over time. Another difficulty is the similarity of potentially important indicators eg delusions or hallucinations can accompany severe depression, and episodic signs of mania, depression and Schizophrenia can be similar.
As with bipolar disorder the cause of schizoaffective bipolar disorder is unknown. Contributing factors are thought to include a genetic component, some imbalance of brain chemicals affecting message circulation, and environmental factors like stress in those predisposed to the medical condition.
Here are some good books on the subject:
Balancing the Beast: A Bright View of Schizoaffective Disorder – Bipolar or Manic-Depressive Type This is an account from the patients perspective so for those with Schizoaffective bipolar disorder this is a book you can relate to and be inspired by her optimism and persistence.
What A Life Can Be: One Therapist’s Take on Schizo-Affective Disorder. This book includes both the client and therapist perspective. The author is a professional in the field and the book is highly recommended by other medical professionals.
Schizoaffective Disorder Simplified The author, herself a patient, gives a first hand easy-to-understand account of the disease’s signs, symptoms and treatment.
The treatment for schizoaffective bipolar disorder is mood stabilizers combined with antipsychotic medications and sometimes antidepressants. The medical treatment is similar to that of bipolar I disorder so that a confusion of these two diagnoses would not be a problem therapeutically. The treatment of schizophrenia, however, does not include mood stabilizers and confusing that diagnosis with schizoaffective bipolar disorder could be dangerous for the patient.
As with all forms of bipolar disorder and depression, schizoaffective bipolar disorder carries with it the danger of suicide. The percentage of people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder who threaten or attempt suicide is significant.