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I am asking as I have this condition and I am hoping to gather more data about my particular demographic, in order to give me a better idea as to what they are doing, as well to lead me to how those of us with this condition fare later in life.

What is the long-term prognosis for schizoaffective disorder?

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  • $\begingroup$ No, not at all. I understand the classification, I wasn't sure how the tagging system worked, thank you so much for the edit. $\endgroup$ – ApisGirl Dec 1 '12 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ Your question tackles the field of aetiology and epidemiology. Especially incidence and prevalence rates is what you are looking for. Though I am not sure, if schizoaffective disorder is a distinct category in DSM-5 or ICD-11 $\endgroup$ – bambamfox May 28 at 2:29
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Note, this is not my area, and not medical advice. If you need help with this you should consult an appropriately trained health practitioner.

To consult the scientific literature, do a search like "schizoaffective disorder prognosis" on Google Scholar.

For example, Robinson et al (1999) provide some relevant empirical data. The sample was 50% female and had a mean age of 25.6 (SD=6.3) years. To quote their abstract:

Background We examined relapse after response to a first episode of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder.

Methods Patients with first-episode schizophrenia were assessed on measures of psychopathologic variables, cognition, social functioning, and biological variables and treated according to a standardized algorithm. The sample for the relapse analyses consisted of 104 patients who responded to treatment of their index episode and were at risk for relapse.

Results Five years after initial recovery, the cumulative first relapse rate was 81.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 70.6%-93.2%); the second relapse rate was 78.0% (95% CI, 46.5%-100.0%). By 4 years after recovery from a second relapse, the cumulative third relapse rate was 86.2% (95% CI, 61.5%-100.0%). Discontinuing antipsychotic drug therapy increased the risk of relapse by almost 5 times (hazard ratio for an initial relapse, 4.89 [99% CI, 2.49-9.60]; hazard ratio for a second relapse, 4.57 [99% CI, 1.49-14.02]). Subsequent analyses controlling for antipsychotic drug use showed that patients with poor premorbid adaptation to school and premorbid social withdrawal relapsed earlier. Sex, diagnosis, obstetric complications, duration of psychotic illness before treatment, baseline symptoms, neuroendocrine measures, methylphenidate hydrochloride challenge response, neuropsychologic and magnetic resonance imaging measures, time to response of the initial episode, adverse effects during treatment, and presence of residual symptoms after the initial episode were not significantly related to time to relapse.

Conclusions There is a high rate of relapse within 5 years of recovery from a first episode of schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. This risk is diminished by maintenance antipsychotic drug treatment.

References

  • Robinson, D., Woerner, M. G., Alvir, J. M. J., Bilder, R., Goldman, R., Geisler, S., ... & Lieberman, J. A. (1999). Predictors of relapse following response from a first episode of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 56(3), 241. FULL TEXT
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