How Do You Test for Schizophrenia?


Quick Answer

Schizophrenia testing involves a combination of a psychological evaluation and medical tests aimed at screening for alternative explanations for the symptoms, explains Mayo Clinic. During the psychological evaluation, the health care provider may observe the patient's overall demeanor and appearance as well as ask questions about relevant thoughts and behaviors.

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How Do You Test for Schizophrenia?
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Full Answer

When determining whether a schizophrenia diagnosis is appropriate, a health care professional typically inquires about topics such as substance abuse, delusions, hallucinations, moods and thought patterns, notes Mayo Clinic. The evaluation also usually involves questions about suicidal or violent behaviors or the potential to engage in such behaviors.

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association specifies the criteria necessary for a schizophrenia diagnosis. The manual indicates that other mental health and medical explanations for the symptoms must be ruled out before a patient receives a diagnosis, explains Mayo Clinic. Blood tests, MRI scans, CT scans, and testing for alcohol and drugs may be used to help rule out other conditions.

For a positive diagnosis, the DSM necessitates that a patient must have at least two schizophrenia symptoms that occur during the majority of the days in a given month, according to Mayo Clinic. Furthermore, at least one of the two symptoms must be either hallucinations, delusions or disorganized speech. Other symptoms may include catatonic behavior and disorganized behavior.

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