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What are the Best Tips for Schizophrenia Diagnosis?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The best tips for schizophrenia diagnosis include choosing a doctor who will be thorough in his or her approach by conducting a physical exam, blood test and brain scan. Other mental illnesses as well as brain injuries and substance abuse should be ruled out for the most accurate diagnosis. Family history should always be looked at as schizophrenia often has a genetic link.

When analyzing test results and family background, the psychiatrist or psychologist should investigate the person's relationships. People with schizophrenia often have impaired relationships with family members and friends, but those who are close to the person awaiting diagnosis may also be able to reveal helpful information about their loved one's behavior. For example, although people who think they may have schizophrenia are usually very aware of hearing voices and other hallucinatory experiences to report to the doctor, their own behavior such as blank stares or short replies may not be self-noticed. Friends and relatives are often certain to notice such behavioral changes that can aid a doctor in making a schizophrenia diagnosis.

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Every piece of information about the behavior and symptoms a person is experiencing or has experienced can help a psychologist or psychiatrist make a correct schizophrenia diagnosis. Doctors should also give people who think they may have schizophrenia a screening test that evaluates attitudes. These types of tests can be very accurate in identifying possible schizophrenics. After any positive screening test, the mental health doctor can analyze the results in combination with the outcomes of the physical examination as well as other tests and family background information to make a diagnosis.

Before making a final diagnosis, the doctor should again consider anything else to rule out that could be causing symptoms similar to schizophrenia. Being extremely cautious in making a schizophrenia diagnosis is an important tip to remember since this is a serious disease. Medication or other treatment may be given to a person who doesn't actually have the disorder due to a wrong diagnosis. Hitting one's head from a fall may cause bizarre behavior, or substance abuse could trigger hallucinations. Brain scans by tomography CT can often show the difference between brain irregularities caused by schizophrenia and other issues.

Time lines are important when diagnosing schizophrenia. Doctors may not be able to make a firm schizophrenia diagnosis unless symptoms such as flatness of personality, short or disorganized speech and problems relating to others have been experienced for at least six months, as well as hallucinations or delusions occurring for a minimum of one month. Psychiatrists and psychologists will typically also need to spend some time on different occasions discussing the patient's thoughts, attitudes and feelings with him or her before they are able to make a schizophrenia diagnosis.

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