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How do doctors diagnose schizophrenia?

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There’s no simple test to find out if someone has schizophrenia. It’s a severe mental illness that is very hard to diagnose. It affects the way a person thinks, processes emotions, maintains relationships, and makes decisions. To get an official diagnosis of schizophrenia, your loved one has to show at least two of the following symptoms most of the time for a month, and some mental disturbance over 6 months:

  • Delusions (false beliefs that the person won’t give up, even when they get proof that they’re not true)
  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there)
  • Disorganized speech and behavior
  • Catatonia or coma-like dazes
  • Bizarre or hyperactive behavior

SOURCES:

American Psychiatric Association,  , fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR), American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Keith, S.  , 1991. Schizophrenia Bulletin

Andreasen, N.  , 1991. Schizophrenia Bulletin

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Schizophrenia.”

Mayo Clinic: “Schizophrenia, tests and diagnosis.”

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on January 13, 2019

SOURCES:

American Psychiatric Association,  , fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR), American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

Keith, S.  , 1991. Schizophrenia Bulletin

Andreasen, N.  , 1991. Schizophrenia Bulletin

National Alliance on Mental Illness: “Schizophrenia.”

Mayo Clinic: “Schizophrenia, tests and diagnosis.”

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg on January 13, 2019

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What should I do if I think someone I know may have schizophrenia?

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