Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

There are no tests for schizophrenia. Your doctor may think you have it based on certain symptoms. Other illnesses, mental health problems, and substance abuse will need to be ruled out. Psychosis can happen with many health problems. Also, many mental health problems have similar symptoms. You will have a:

  • Visit with your doctor—Your doctor will ask about your mental health problems. You will also be asked about your health and family history. Your doctor may want to talk to your family and other people who are close to you.
  • Physical—Your doctor will do an exam. You may be given lab tests to rule out other causes for your health problems such as alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Mental health exam—A mental health specialist will ask questions about your current and past mental health problems. They may also ask about family members who have or had the same problems.

The doctor will look for certain factors that suggest schizophrenia. The American Psychiatric Association requires some or all of the following:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Very abnormal behavior such a catatonia
  • Any negative symptoms such as flat affect or social withdrawal

You may be asked if you have lasting problems with:



Holder SD, Wayhs A. Schizophrenia. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(11):775-782.
Schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115234/Schizophrenia. Updated November 29, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2019.
Schizophrenia. Mental Health America website. Available at:
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Accessed August 15, 2019.
Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml. Updated February 2016. Accessed August 15, 2019.
Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 8/15/2019

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