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Schizophrenia - Exams and Tests

Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and your mental health and about any odd experiences you may have had, such as hearing voices or having confusing thoughts. You also will have a physical exam.

Your doctor also may suggest tests to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms or to diagnose other schizophrenia disorders. These tests may include blood tests and a CT scan or MRI. The CT scan or MRI will check the size, structure, and function of your brain.

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If your doctor thinks you are depressed or are thinking about suicide, a suicide assessment also may be done.

Schizophrenia is diagnosed when:1

  • You have had at least two of the following symptoms and they lasted for at least 1 month:
    • Hallucinations
    • Delusions
    • Disorganized speech, such as not making sense to others when you talk
    • Very disorganized or catatonic behavior, such as sitting or standing in unusual positions for a long time
    • Negative symptoms, such as having no emotion, not being able to feel pleasure, or having a hard time focusing
  • You have had milder symptoms, such as odd beliefs or confusion, for at least 6 months.
  • You have problems doing your job right or dealing with other people or problems in other areas of your life.
  • Your symptoms aren't caused by other mental or physical health problems, a medicine you're taking, or substance abuse problems.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    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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