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Is Schizoaffective disorder the same as puerperal psychosis?

ontheup profile image

Today the psychiatric nurse visiting me said that I could have schizoaffective disorder rather than puerperal psychosis. Is that a different illness or the same, the symptoms seem identical for each illness but the prognosis is different. I can't find much information because my brain is rushing too fast for me to search logically for resources online. Can anyone help please.

13 Replies
JonesieB profile image

Hi ontheup,

Me again, I've just seen this post from you after replying about sleep.

I don't personally know much about schizoaffective disorder but I do understand how much of a spin that must have sent you in to. I'm not sure it's very helpful at the moment for you to have another possible illness to worry about. As hard as it is, I wonder if you can put the nurse's comments on hold until Tuesday when you see your psychiatrist again. Then you will be able to ask for some clarity.

I remember all the questions that race through your mind during this stage of PP. My psychiatrist would encourage me to try as much as I could to put them to one side and just think about resting, looking after myself and do all I could to aid recovery. The energy spent on trying to work out all the answers is so tiring. I know this is easier said than done.

Take it gently, an hour at a time, not looking too far ahead if you can. You will get better, we all did.



Lilybeth profile image

Hello Ontheup

Sorry I can't be of help either about schizoaffective disorder. I also think it was a little unhelpful of the Nurse to put another idea in the pot when she must realise how ill you are and how this will worry you.

Try and take it easy, I hope you have a better day tomorrow.

We are all thinking of you.

Hi Ontheup,

I hope when you see the Psychiatrist he/she will be able to answer your questions. It`s so difficult to make sense of things, especially when thoughts are racing. When I was in a similar situation I wanted someone to explain what was happening and when they did I kept telling myself that I would recover and gradually I did recover. When thoughts are racing it`s easy to get overtired. Resting as much as possible will help and the more sleep you have the better although easier said than done. Look after yourself and be guided by your Psychiatrist and your close relatives. At the moment it`s very scary and confusing but things will improve. Take care and remember we are all here for you. Keep in touch, hope you feel better very soon, Sarah.

Naomi_at_app profile image

Hi ontheup

I'd agree with what others have said, speculating about another diagnosis wasn't a helpful thing for the nurse to do at this stage. I'm so sorry as I can imagine it was very worrying.

What is important right now is that your symptoms are treated and you are given the space to recover. Try not to worry about the longer term prognosis right now.

PP usually occurs in the early weeks after a baby is born, however for some women they can experience symptoms of psychosis later on especially along with depression. Your experience falls into this second camp which may be why the nurse thought it might not be PP. However the key is that treatment is the same - and the right antipsychotic medication will reduce your distressing symptoms.

Again I'm so sorry that this extra layer of worry has been thrown into the mix. I'd say try not to Google any diagnoses! The focus of the next few days is being gentle with yourself and making a treatment plan with the psychiatrist to help you rest and recuperate and to treat the psychotic symptoms.

You're doing amazingly well to be reaching out for support on the forum and we're here for as long as you need us.



Like others, I don't think it was very helpful of the nurse to tell you this, regardless of whether it is true or not. The thing to remember and this may help you put the worry to one side is that nurses do NOT diagnose. That is not their role. So it's probably not true at all. My experience is that some psychiatric nurses think they're doctors and are quite arrogant and patronising. Not all, but some.

If this is your first psychotic episode or all your others are related to childbirth then that person is likely to be wrong. According to the new guidelines, you need two episodes of psychosis to qualify for a schizoaffective disorder diagnosis. And there shouldn't be any other medical reason, like childbirth, for the psychosis. And from what I understand, Postpartum Psychosis is statistically rarer than schizoaffective disorder so the nurse may not know much about it at all.

So if you've been diagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis by a qualified doctor, I would ignore your nurse's most probably misinformed comment and concentrate on looking after yourself.

Very best of luck and let us know how you get on,

Anne x

Ok, I've refrained from Google and will speak to the psychiatrist. For me, the "delusions" (not sure what's real and what's not today, struggling to believe these thoughts are not true) started when B was about 2 weeks old, I discovered my higher thinking and their surveillance, but part of it was about keeping our secrets undiscovered e.g. My higher thinking and how special he is because he's got the full higher thinking skill. I had to protect anyone from knowing so I told nobody but as I had to take more evasive or overt action, once I knew they were aware about him and are persecuting us and surveillance is completely set up I began to disclose bits for safety. Now if we did get run off the road or taken then my husband might put two and two together, someone else might discover the truth. But that's where they're so clever because then it seems like I'm delusional and mentally ill and then they can use this to their advantage because nobody will ever guess. I feel stuck and not ill, I nearly believed it and almost let them take him easier but I see I have to stop this!

Lilybeth profile image

Hello ontheup

We are all still here holding your virtual hand through this. On a better day you have realised that the thoughts you have are not true but today's not such a good day is it? Is your husband or mum around? It's easy to see how much you love your children. I know it's difficult but if you can possibly think about it, you must be ill otherwise such thoughts would never be in your head?

Please stay safe, I'm really sorry you're struggling.

Lilybeth profile image

Hello ontheup

I hope you had a good night's rest. I saw one of those canvas prints in a shop yesterday with the words, "Learn from yesterday; Live for today; Hope for tomorrow".

Thinking of you today; there is always hope.

Take very good care ...... we are all here to lean on.

Naomi_at_app profile image

Hi ontheup

I know it's really difficult right now to discern between what is real and not real. It must be incredibly tiring for you. How did it go with the psychiatrist yesterday?

I know lots of mums on the forum said when they were confused and unsure, they just held on to trusting and believing their family. Your husband and mum love you loads and what they are saying is real - hold on if you can to their love and trust that they just want you to recover.

Hope that the psychiatrist yesterday was able to suggest some treatment options to get you back on the road to recovery. Thinking of you


Hello. The psychiatrist has just left. He confirmed PP, I'm happier that I have a name to use when challenging my thoughts. I'm confused still.

Lilybeth profile image

Hello ontheup, Really good to hear from you. I'm sure you have had a tiring day so I won't ask many questions. In a way it's good to have a proper diagnosis isn't it? You now know what it is. Although it's not a good 'thing' to have, you can see from the mums here that it is possible to recover and find yourself again.

Can we help with what's confusing you still? Will the nurse still be visiting everyday? I'll leave you to rest now but hopefully after the visit from the psychiatrist there's a plan in place for your ongoing care

Take it easy.

Hi Ontheup,

Great to hear you are ok. Although symptoms at first are scary and confusing, it`s good to know that the recovery from this illness is good, although gradual. Hope there is some light now at the end of the tunnel. If we can help you through what`s confusing you please ask any questions you have. Hope you can have some rest and take things easy.

Best wishes,


EmmiLou profile image

Hi ontheup

It's good to hear back from you today.

I'm glad that they have given you a diagnosis but know everything must still seem very strange and confusing.

We are here to help with the confusion and any questions you may have.

Hope you get some rest later.

Speak soon.

Emma x

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