Schizophrenia makes it hard to get through everyday tasks such as managing emotions, making decisions, thinking clearly, and interacting with people. It is tough to diagnose schizophrenia as there are currently no medical tests, and other mental health disorders can mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia. Luckily, there are several ways to determine whether or not you have this mental illness so you can ensure you get the proper treatment.

Medical Screenings

While there may not be specific tests for schizophrenia, there are medical screenings that doctors can use to verify your symptoms. Medical screening may involve taking a look at your family and medical history as well as a physical examination. It can also mean a verbal interview to look at any experiences or perceptions that are disturbing and evaluating your level of functioning, such as your life goals, motivation, and cognition. It is also crucial for you to undergo a safety evaluation to see if you have any thoughts of suicide or a plan of self-harm. An MRI scan can give you an image of your brain to determine any abnormalities that can be causing symptoms similar to schizophrenia. A CT scan can also look at the structural findings like a brain tumor that can be the underlying cause of schizophrenia symptoms.

Psychiatric Evaluation

A psychiatric evaluation involves looking at a person’s abilities, behavior, and other characteristics. A psychiatric assessment may include information about the signs and symptoms of psychiatric disorders and nonpsychiatric issues like goals, career interests, intelligence levels, and more. Information can be gathered about you using interviews, self-reports, standardized tests, psychological measurement devices, and more. The results of the information can help make a more precise mental health diagnosis.

The DSM-5 Criteria

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria is the reference book of mental illness diagnoses. The DSM-5 says that before a schizophrenia diagnosis can be made, a person must have two or more of the following symptoms in the past 30 days: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and negative symptoms. At least one of the symptoms must be a symptom of psychosis. After medical tests are done to rule out other possible signs of schizophrenia, the diagnostician determines whether or not your symptoms qualify. Schizophrenia may be a complex mental illness, but getting an accurate diagnosis will help determine whether or not you need treatment.

Schizophrenia can make it hard to regulate emotions and determine what is real. The symptoms of schizophrenia can make relationships hard as well as daily living. While there may not be a specific test for schizophrenia, there are several ways to receive a precise diagnosis to help you rule out a schizophrenia diagnosis. At Alta Loma, we can provide you with a clear diagnosis for schizophrenia as well as a personalized treatment plan. Located in Georgetown, Texas, we can provide you with individualized therapy, coping skills education, therapeutic recreational activities, and more. Call us today at (866) 457-3843 for more information.