How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?
Schizophrenia is a complex disorder that affects the brain. There is no medical test for schizophrenia, but it can be identified by the presence of certain symptoms. Each person will display the symptoms differently. Only a doctor, usually a psychiatrist, can diagnose and treat schizophrenia.
The doctor may conduct some physical tests to rule out other conditions that may cause symptoms similar to schizophrenia. Drug use may also cause symptoms similar to schizophrenia.
It is important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. The sooner a person is diagnosed and treated, the better the long-term results.
By talking with the patient and family members, the doctor gets the information needed for an accurate diagnosis. The diagnosis is based on:
- The patient's symptoms
- The most common symptoms of schizophrenia are positive symptoms and negative symptoms
- A complete history of past symptoms and behavior
- A medical and family history
- People who have a relative with schizophrenia are more likely to develop the illness
- Stressful periods or drug use can trigger symptoms of schizophrenia in a person prone to this illness
Once a diagnosis is made, the doctor will work with the patient to find the right treatment.