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Medical History for Schizophrenia

During a medical history for schizophrenia, the health professional asks many different questions. The health professional will ask some general questions, such as:

  • How are you feeling?
  • Have you recently noticed changes in the amount of energy you have or in your appetite or sleep?
  • Have you recently had changes in daily habits, such as changing from the day shift to the night shift? Does your work require that you travel frequently?
  • Have you had unusually high stress lately (for example, due to events such as the death of a loved one, a change in job, getting married or divorced, or having a baby)?
  • Have you had any recent exposure to irritating chemicals or toxins?
  • Have you recently changed the amount of medicine you take or started a new medicine?
  • Have you had any periods of time when you have lost track of time, such as you "woke up" and didn't know what had happened? Have you had any times when you were in a stupor?

The health professional will ask some questions specifically about unusual experiences, such as:

  • Do you ever hear voices (or see things) that other people do not hear (or see)?
  • Do you ever think that you are being given a special message, are supposed to do a special project, or have been selected to be someone special?
  • Are you having confusing thoughts that are hard for you to understand or follow?
  • Do you get frustrated easily?
  • Do you think that you are in danger?
  • Do you think about hurting yourself or someone else?
  • Do you think that you are being followed, that someone is controlling your thoughts, or that someone else knows what you are about to do or say?

The health professional may also ask other questions to see whether a person has symptoms of other conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or heavy alcohol or illegal drug use. The health professional may specifically ask about the use of illegal drugs known to cause the same symptoms as schizophrenia, especially phencyclidine hydrochloride (PCP), methamphetamine, and cocaine.

The health professional will also ask questions about family history, including any history of schizophrenia or other mental illnesses.

The health professional may also ask to interview one or more family members. During these interviews, the health professional may ask the family member(s) to describe the actions and behaviors of the person who has symptoms that may be caused by schizophrenia.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Current as of August 31, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 31, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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