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How does a doctor diagnose schizophrenia?

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The doctor will examine someone in whom schizophrenia is suspected either in an office or in the emergency department. The doctor's initial role is to ensure the patient doesn't have any medical problems. Certain neurological disorders (such as epilepsy, brain tumors, and encephalitis), endocrine and metabolic disturbances, infectious diseases, and autoimmune conditions involving the central nervous system can sometimes cause symptoms that look like schizophrenia. The doctor takes the patient's history and performs a physical exam. Laboratory and other tests, sometimes including brain imaging techniques such as a computerized tomography scan or a magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, are performed. Physical findings can relate to the symptoms associated with schizophrenia or to medications the person may be taking. Psychological testing can also be used to further explore the symptoms of schizophrenia. These tests can include cognitive testing, personality testing, and open-ended or projective testing such as the Rorschach (inkblot) test.

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: "Schizophrenia."

MedicineNet.com: "Schizophrenia."

National Alliance on Mental Illness: "Schizophrenia."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Schizophrenia."

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: "Schizophrenia."

Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella on November 25, 2019

SOURCES:

National Institute of Mental Health: "Schizophrenia."

MedicineNet.com: "Schizophrenia."

National Alliance on Mental Illness: "Schizophrenia."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Schizophrenia."

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation: "Schizophrenia."

Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella on November 25, 2019

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