Q. Will schizoaffective disorder cause cognitive issues?

Answered by
Dr. Seikhoo Bishnoi
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 07, 2021

Hi doctor,

Are the cognitive symptoms (lower IQ, difficulty with abstract thinking and empathy) after a psychotic episode (schizoaffective disorder) permanent?



Welcome to

Thanks for writing in, and I understand your concern.

Cognitive issues in schizoaffective disorder are not permanent. With symptomatic improvement in core psychotic symptoms, the cognitive symptoms revert. I cannot comment on IQ (intelligence quotient), but yes, mental functions revert to normal. Apathy, abstract thinking, etc., shall normalize with time.


Hi doctor,

Thanks for the reply.

The problem is I was not treated for three months, and the psychotic episode went away on its own after changing my cognition. Now I am being treated again, even though I am not visibly psychotic but in the hope of regaining my cognition. Is this possible? And if so, what is the normal time frame to get better?



Welcome back to

A better assessment can be done if you share some more information. Do you think that you have problems with cognition? Are you facing any difficulties in normal functioning or in doing work? It is normal to have mood changes, problems in focus, or difficulty in abstract thinking, etc., while on anti-psychotic drugs. But that does not mean that the effects are permanent. The symptoms usually go away four weeks post-recovery. Only in some, these might take more time. Core symptoms or positive symptoms respond first to treatment, then negative symptoms like apathy show improvement. Cognitive symptoms would improve on their own. In schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, cognitive issues are seen only after many years of diagnosis in chronic cases. It is not common to see a cognitive decline in the early course of the disease.

Thank you for your reply.

This is not caused by the medication. I sensed the change in cognition when I abruptly stopped taking olanzapine and remained three months without medication. Will the the problems reverse in time or is this permanent neurological damage. I am taking risperidone and amitriptyline at the moment.
# Hello again

Please don’t think that this change in cognition is permanent. With time this will reverse by own. Similar symptoms sometimes seem in depression too that is called pseudo-dementia. This is a reversible condition.

You have no neurological damage.


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