Hi, I am new here and am concerned about my son (14). His psych thinks he has schizoaffective disorder, disorganized type.
He does not have any delusions, hallcinations or strange ideas or thoughts at all.
What may fit the diagnosis is this. He does seem to have some sort of thinking problems. At school he sometime cannot wrap his mind around something. Teacher have mentioned concerns about him seeming confused and sometimes not responsive. He may stop talking in a middle of a sentence or loose his train of thought. But there is no clanging, loose associations or other problems associated with this. He complains about intense thoughts, but they are not unusual, just persistent. He otfen paces and thinks. They usually involve "inventing something". School work is often uncompleted or takes forever. He gets very frustrated and is trying very hard.
He sometimes gets flat and monotone, although this really does not happen at home, if so rarely. But in the psych's office or sometimes at school this happens. He has been descibed at times by teachers as "spacey", "listless" not all there. There have been times in the past that he seems unmotivated, but not in an extreme way.
On the other hand, he can be hyper. This historically has been his big problem. He gets silly and pesky and it annoys other children. The "experts" agree that it is not hyperactivity in ADD. This has improved a lot as he gets older. He call these bursts of energy.
When I read about Schizoaffective disorder, there seems to be more hallucinations, delusions or strange thoughts. He has never had any problem with "reality". Can you have schizoaffective without those issues? Does this seem enough for a diagnosis?
The following user gives a hug of support to mom1000: talkaboutit (12-25-2011)
I am no doctor but your son dosen't not sound as if he has that disorder at all, have you taken time to really talk to him and ask him how he feels toward his school work? have you investigated his learning style? possibly he needs alternative teaching styles? children can be very intricate and you really need to investigate how your child feels and thinks about the situation. Being open and honest with him without putting and harsh judgement or labels upon him when he is at such a impressionable time in his life is so important.
I really would look into it on another scale not to effect your child life, self esteem or self worth for the rest of his life.
Thanks for your reply. Accually, another counselor thinks he has mild asperger's, but the area specialist said there are traits, but she thought it is just too mild to put that diagnosis on. He scored a 7 on the ADOS
What is the most tell tale sign of schizoaffective?
When my son sits in the psychs office he seems to go into a withdrawn mode which the pysch sees as negative symptoms, but half hour later he is back to himself. I wonder if he is just so self conscious. When the teachers complain about his listlessness and confusion, I simply don't know how often that is or if that is the same thing. The other counselor said aspies tend to zone out. Zone out is the perfect description. Yet I know that sometimes it is more like a social discomfort.
We are concerned about three things. The negative symptoms of flat effect (in certain settings), possible thought disorder based on confusion during school, (but not just that he doesn't get a concept, but rather zones out. And lastly, he has intense thoughts, but they don't seem like things he can't control, but rather that he is working through "inventions". (maybe his aspie obsession if that is the correct diagnosis)
It would be helpful if someone could explain what thought disorder, negative symptoms, and intrusive thoughts are really like, rather than a clinical list of symptoms. I apprecciate any insight.
Sorry for the long posts, I am filled with anxiety about this.
Hi mom1000, i might have some answers... I'm a 29 y/o male with a dual diagnosis of mild schizoaffective(bipolar type) at age 20 and mild case of mild autism or aspergers (i discovered at age 25). Never forget that the docs have only seriously paid attention to either of these disorders for 10,15,20 years tops - so its still very much unknown territory. But there's been a lot of good progress made in the last 5-10 years. Hopefully I don't talk too much, but I'm going to try and tell you everything I know fast. Because even though I can't personally agree w/ every description of your son, i can honestly severely relate to very much of how you've described your son.
Halucinations: I don't see things that aren't real. I don't hear voices. I do however hear music, but I'm a musician and play several instruments well (didn't Mozart hear his compositions in his mind loudly?) so how is that any bit of abnormal? Even though I have 20/20 vision, I usually always see shadowy imaginations in the corner of my eyes or another way to describe it in lay terms is like when you have a loose eyelash in your eye. But its persistent. I do have very long eyelashes, I've recently considered having them professionally trimmed to see if it might fix that "symptom" of mine. During the era of my first diagnosis/hospitalization I heard music and would write poetry to it, it was fun but the problem with having this auditory sensation is that its like a radio without a volume knob. It can be so loud sometimes that you can't hear the people in front of you trying to talk to you even though you are making eye contact with them and trying hard to listen. This occurred during each of the three separate occasions I was forced to hospitalization and had no other option but to learn more about mental health conditions. Heavy marijuana use and exploration with hallucinogenics such as lsd or mushrooms when I was close to your sons age could also have played a role during the very rare extreme hallucinations. I can confess to only one extreme visual hallucination and only one occasion of hearing voices during my lifetime (about 9000 days my eyes have been open), and it would be fair to say that recreational drug use was a factor during those extreme moments i've had where my only explanation is hallucination. My advice, recognize that recreational drug can only make things worse, and the hallucinations (fuzzy vision) are so mild (yet always there) that its debatable they even really exist, or are of hindrance. Tell him to be honest with himself and if the racing thoughts are viciously persistent for at least 2 or 3 days I believe taking an anti-psychotic is the only way to calm it, i've experienced great results from each olanzapine & seroquel. I was taking an anti-psychotic during the era of my last hospitalization (2006), and thats when I learned the hard lesson that I need something like depakote for treating the symptoms of moodiness. I don't recommend that you put any child on psych meds, but I offer my sincere knowledge after years of researching for answers. I'm really happy to finally agree with most of the criteria for both aspergers or schizoaffective but neither alone. I also don't agree with the diagnosis of bipolar much at all, and thats what I thought I was initially diagnosed with. My first hospital visit lasted 10 days and cost my parents $1300 per day, and being responsible for creating an unexpected bill of 13grand is something i still regret. Live and learn hard lessons I guess. I firmly believe that I must take the meds daily to live without worries, but again I don't recommend any teen try psych meds, but perhaps its a good idea to at least talk about around age 19 or 20 (typical onset).
I can personally agree 100% with the following ways you described your son since I was his age, if not a little younger.
He may stop talking in a middle of a sentence or loose his train of thought. But there is no clanging, loose associations or other problems associated with this. He complains about intense thoughts, but they are not unusual, just persistent. He often paces and thinks. They usually involve "inventing something". School work is often uncompleted or takes forever. He gets very frustrated and is trying very hard. He sometimes gets flat and monotone. He has been descibed at times by teachers as "spacey", "listless" not all there.
I can agree with all of these "symptoms" you've described as well as several more I've found in research.
When I was your son's age, if not as young as 2nd grade, I began to notice that my own mood could change very fast, but it seems to me to be entirely environment dependent. Unfortunately there's no way around having to deal with some environments or certain people in a school environment. I remember when in middle school I had one class period where I was always depressed and miserable (because of the environment/teacher even though she taught one of my best subjects) and 4 class periods where I was awesome, and a couple where I was just ok normal. I nearly flunked out of gym class when I was a freshman because its not one of my specialized interests. All I can say is grit your teeth and get your 4 year diploma. After highschool comes the time you get to do any of your dreams. I started writing software around age 5 so I went to college decided in a major of computer science. I learned so much about life and people from the dormitory experience, that it dwarfed my desire to pass my classes. I am now a successful computer programmer, but without a degree my only other career choices for me that are reliable paychecks that I kinda enjoy are that of a cashier or dishwasher. I've learned from experience that I suck at being a waiter, answering phones in an office, making food, performing carpentry/construction. I'm fortunate that today I work in a team environment where we play on each others strengths to achieve success as a company.
What I've learned about mild aspergers.
- Specialized interests, and disinterest or sometimes inability to comprehend subjects outside of my specialized interests. My advice, don't go to a general studies college, seek apprenticeship towards a career in your interest. When you enjoy your job, your life is grand.
- Too much of your specialized interest can easily keep you awake until dawn "inventing". And sleep deprivation really plays a role in your mood / weird symptoms. You can also go long amounts of time without eating, and if your skin tone looks pasty, you might not be conscious that you're starving and your body has begun to feed on itself to survive (this doesn't help your brain any). Good nutrition means something.
- Inability often to pick up on subtle social cues. (I probably had dozens of girls interested in me in highschool, but I didn't/couldn't notice. I didn't have my first real girlfriend relationship until i was nearly 22)
- has a hard time dealing with change when you're accustomed to expect routine in something.
- Honest to a fault.
Despite noticable shortcomings, there's also noticable strengths. I honestly believe that aspies are the closest thing to super-heroes that exist. If interested, they have the natural ability to quickly understand and master any concept they desire.
The only persistent symptom of Schizoaffective that I've noticed and haven't yet advised about is that it seems like when pacing/thinking or otherwise alone in thought, you can accidently come to the conclusion of something and actually fabricate a memory that no one else seems to remember. So I have to consciously not dwell on memories and only live for today+tomorrow. I have several close friends that I'm comfortable to "check" my memories with and it still fascinates me to this day how often I believe things happened which never were. With all of this said, I've come to realize that living alone and working from home can be a bad situation. Living with others, even if its my parents at age 29, seems to prevent me from following the tangent of a false memory as much.
Sorry to write a novel, hope this helps ya or someone else.
Re: Minors symptoms enouowsgh for Schizoaffective?
As his mother,youll be the one who knows if your child needs help.If you go to ten doctors youll get ten differnt answers.Dont let your child be reading about schzoaffective disorder on the internet,it will only scare him,and make him doubt himself.Get him involved in the world.Its all in GODS H
Re: Minors symptoms enouowsgh for Schizoaffective?
As his mother,youll be the one who knows if your child needs help.If you go to ten doctors youll get ten differnt answers.Dont let your child be reading about schzoaffective disorder on the internet,it will only scare him,and make him doubt himself.Get him involved in the world.Its all in GODS HANDS.GL
Thanks all for the replies. We took our son off stimulants used to treat his attentional issues. Guess what. No more flat monotone affect. His personality is back. His medicine was so badly managed over the past couple of years. Now we see a distractible kid. I really think he has add and a learning disability. Maybe minor symtoms of the Asperger's, but I don't think so. He still likes to pace and "invent", but even that is less. Overfocus?
He still can focus on schoolwork. But it seems more ADD and LD.
Its late right now so I can't get into a full reply, but I feel we have very similar stories. My son is now 20 years old, three years into treatment lots of meds but no firm diagnosis. The doctors do not want to label him if they can avoid it and choose to treat the symptoms. The schizotypol disorder, phycosis, bi-polar have all been alluded too at the doctors office. Quickly though, my son has had ADHD since very young, lots of difficulty at school and he always lived way outside the box. Creativity and in almost all other ways.
Partied like most other teens, but weed, canibus is the most dangerous of drugs, because the kids think it is harmless. his use of weed probably triggered his first complete psychotic episode. For now look into the use of drugs, because your son is just entering into that stage of his life. It can take his situation into an even more dangerous and complicated level.
Hope we make contact again. For now goodnight.