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So, after many years I finally admitted my paranoia to my psychiatrist. That in itself was incredibly hard, but now I'm being thrown the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. I had the diagnoses of bipolar type I and social phobia up until this time. I've been reading up on schizoaffective disorder and it scares me. I'm questioning whether or not I do have schizoaffective disorder or the paranoia is part of my social phobia or something else. The part of schizoaffective disorder that bothers me the most is the hallucinations. I've always thought they were caused my manic episodes(my visual ones), now, however, I'm being told that the apparent "voices" are auditory hallucinations. Which I can't believe, as it's not like someone is talking to me, rather it seems like I'm talking to myself/at myself or describing my life (almost like I'm narrating it). The paranoia I've always thought was social phobia, of course, I was too paranoid to admit to anyone that it occured for a while. Now I'm being told it's a delusion. Other symptoms that I've had I've always attributed to my mood or because it was 'normal' for me. Again, I'm being told that my apathy, anhedonia, and distractability can be related to depression but can also be signs of schizoaffective disorder. I'm honestly confused, do I warrant the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder? Or, should I find another psychiatrist?
I'm in the psychology field...and from what I gather...bipolar disorder is one of the many brain diseases that shares symptoms with schizophrenia; this leads to mistaken diagnoses. It's important to know that individuals with bipolar disorder, display psychotic symptoms as a feature of their illness. Someone with bipolar disorder is not always in either a manic or a depressive phase; they may have long periods during which they seem virtually symptom-free (does not have the disordered thinking, delusions, voices, or other symptoms that characterize schizophrenia). Likewise, any psychotic symptoms associated with bipolar disorder should occur within the context of a manic or a depressive state - delusions of grandeur and hallucinations may be either wildly optimistic and grandiose, or completely disastrous and guilt-ridden.
Hope this helps....I'd seek a second opinion before I'd accept a diagnosis of any kind....but that's my opinion :)
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