Diagnosis of Schizophrenia
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Before a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be made, your doctor must rule out other illnesses. People can suffer severe mental symptoms and sometimes psychosis because of underlying medical conditions that have not been detected.
It is often difficult to differentiate one mental disorder from another as many psychiatric illnesses share similar features and symptoms. Obtaining an early and accurate diagnosis is extremely important.
People who are diagnosed early are able to:
Diagnosis includes the following:
Diagnosis is often based on the criteria outlined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). In order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, you must have psychotic symptoms for at least 6 months and show increasing difficulty in functioning normally.
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Schizophrenia. Mental Health America website. Available at:
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Updated . Accessed March 14, 2017.
Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml. Updated February 2016. Accessed March 14, 2017.
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Last reviewed March 2017 by Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 3/14/2017
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