Monday, June 10, 2024

How Do You Diagnose Schizophrenia

Don't Miss

Can Schizophrenia Be Treated

The 4 Schizophrenia Symptoms You Need to Know

Yes. The main types of treatment are counseling and medicines to lessen or stop psychotic symptoms. Medicines will control psychotic symptoms in most people. In milder cases of schizophrenia, medications may not be needed. Medicines can:

  • Lessen or stop hallucinations
  • Help the person tell the difference between hallucinations and the real world
  • Lessen or stop false beliefs
  • Lessen feelings of confusion
  • Help the person think more clearly

Lessening of these symptoms can help the person resume his or her normal lifestyle and activities. Medicines for schizophrenia need to be taken regularly, even after symptoms are gone. Some people with schizophrenia will stop taking their medicine because they believe the medicine is no longer needed, or they dislike the medication’s side effects. Psychotic symptoms often return when medication is stopped. Do not stop taking medicine without the advice of your healthcare provider.

Discuss any concerns you have about side effects with your healthcare provider.

Diagnostic Issues And Controversies

It has been argued that the diagnostic approach to schizophrenia is flawed, as it relies on an assumption of a clear dividing line between what is considered to be mental illness and mental health . Recently it has been argued, notably by psychiatrist Jim van Os and psychologist Richard Bentall, that this makes little sense, as studies have shown that psychotic symptoms are present in many people who never become ill in the sense of feeling distressed, becoming disabled in some way or needing medical assistance.

Of particular concern is that the decision as to whether a symptom is present is a subjective decision by the person making the diagnosis or relies on an incoherent definition . More recently, it has been argued that psychotic symptoms are not a good basis for making a diagnosis of schizophrenia as psychosis is the fever of mental illness a serious but nonspecific indicator.

Proponents have argued for a new approach that would use the presence of specific neurocognitive deficits to make a diagnosis. These often accompany schizophrenia and take the form of a reduction or impairment in basic psychological functions such as , , executive function and problem solving. It is these sorts of difficulties, rather than the psychotic symptoms , which seem to be the cause of most in schizophrenia. However, this argument is relatively new and it is unlikely that the method of diagnosing schizophrenia will change radically in the near future.

What Are The 4 Main Types Of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia looks different from one person to the next. But there are four main categories into which patients fall:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia: The persons paranoia may be extreme, and they may act on it. They may show up at the door of the FBI and ask, Why are you following me? says Dr. Bowers. They may also behave oddly, have inappropriate emotional responses and show little pleasure in life.
  • Catatonic schizophrenia: The person shuts down emotionally, mentally and physically. People appear to be paralyzed. They have no facial expression and may stand still for long periods of time, she says. There is no drive to eat, drink or urinate. When catatonia lasts for hours, it becomes a medical emergency.
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia: The person has various vague symptoms. They may not talk or express themselves much. They can be confused and paranoid, says Dr. Bowers. The person may not bother to change clothes or take a shower.
  • Schizoaffective disorder: The person has delusional thinking and other symptoms of schizophrenia. But they also present with one or more symptoms of a mood disorder: depression, mania and/or hypomania, says Dr. Bowers.
  • Don’t Miss: Eating Disorders Essay Outline

    Schizophrenia Test And Early Psychosis Indicator

    The Schizophrenia Test and Early Psychosis Indicator for Prodromal Syndromes and Psychosis is designed as a simple screening quiz to help identify symptoms of the schizophrenia prodrome before an individual becomes fully psychotic. Unlike other schizophrenia screening tests on the internet, the STEPI takes account of both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia while also testing for mitigating factors which can preclude a diagnosis of schizophrenia altogether.

    What Risks And Complications Can Schizophrenia Cause

    Schizophrenia Nursing Care and Management

    Physical health

    Research suggests that people with serious mental illness , such as schizophrenia, have a shorter life expectancy. People with mental illness may die 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population. This may because people who live with SMI are at higher risk of having a range of health issues. Such as being overweight, having heart disease, smoking and diabetes.

    Because of these issues, NICE recommends that when you start taking antipsychotic medication, your doctor should do a full range of physical health checks. This should include weight, blood pressure and other blood tests. These checks should be repeated regularly.

    Mental health professionals are responsible for doing these checks for the first year of treatment. Responsibility may then pass to your GP. Your doctor or mental health team should offer you a programme which combines healthy eating and physical health checks. You should be supported by a healthcare professional to help stop smoking.


    The risk of suicide is increased for people with schizophrenia. Research indicates that around 513% of people who live with with schizophrenia die by suicide.

    Research has found that the increased risk is not usually because of positive symptoms. The risk of suicide is associated more to affective symptoms, such as low mood.

    Key risk factors for suicide include:

    • previous suicide attempts,

    Also Check: Is Phobia A Disease

    What Is Schizophrenia Or Paranoid Schizophrenia

    Schizophrenia is a challenging brain disorder that often makes it difficult to distinguish between what is real and unreal, to think clearly, manage emotions, relate to others, and function normally. It affects the way a person behaves, thinks, and sees the world.

    The most common form is paranoid schizophrenia, or schizophrenia with paranoia as its often called. People with paranoid schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality. They may see or hear things that dont exist, speak in confusing ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel like theyre being constantly watched. This can cause relationship problems, disrupt normal daily activities like bathing, eating, or running errands, and lead to alcohol and drug abuse in an attempt to self-medicate.

    Many people with schizophrenia withdraw from the outside world, act out in confusion and fear, and are at an increased risk of attempting suicide, especially during psychotic episodes, periods of depression, and in the first six months after starting treatment.

    Take any suicidal thoughts or talk very seriously

    If you or someone you care about is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-TALK, visit IASP or to find a helpline in your country, or read Suicide Prevention.

    Need to talk to someone?

    The Scale For The Assessment Of Negative Symptoms And The Scale For The Assessment Of Positive Symptoms

    The and were developed in 1980 to fill a conspicuous gap in tools that could effectively measure the severity of negative and positive symptoms . A standardized scale measuring either positive or negative symptoms did not exist at the time, and negative symptoms were often overlooked, in both clinical as well as in research settings, while positive symptoms were sometimes overemphasized. With Crows work on the importance of negative symptoms, new interest in screening patients with negative symptoms, as well as the inter-correlation of negative symptoms, arose . Partly in response to this paradigm shift, the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms was developed . SAPS were subsequently released a year later, enabling the clinician to evaluate positive symptoms using a similar structure and format to SANS . Specific symptoms in both scales were chosen on the basis of both clinical experience and empirical statistical evaluation of data interrelationships and correlations .

    Don’t Miss: Pristiq Ocd

    Getting Help For Someone Else

    People with schizophrenia may be reluctant to visit their GP. They may believe there’s nothing wrong with them. This can be caused by their delusional thought patterns.

    It’s likely someone who has had acute episodes in the past will already have a care coordinator. If this is the case, contact their care coordinator to express your concerns.

    If someone is having an episode for the first time, you might need to persuade them to visit their GP.

    For a worsening episode, you may need to go to the emergency department . A duty psychiatrist will be available.

    A person having an acute schizophrenic episode may refuse to seek help. In this case, their nearest relative can request a mental health assessment. Social services will tell you how to do this.

    In certain circumstances, you may have to be admitted to hospital against your will. This is called an involuntary admission.

    Criteria For Schizophrenia Diagnosis In Dsm

    How is schizophrenia diagnosed – Four Patients

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition is the authority on mental illness. Created and published by the American Psychiatric Association, this comprehensive manual describes all known mental disorders, among them schizophrenia.

    Mental health professionals use the DSM-5 when determining what someone is experiencing. Doctors use the information and analyze:

    • diagnostic features and symptoms
    • duration of symptoms
    • other conditions that share symptoms

    They also look at age. While its not part of the diagnostic criteria, they do consider someones age. The typical age of schizophrenia diagnosis is between late adolescence and the mid-30s. This varies, though, with peak ages ranging from the early- to mid-20s for males and late-20s for females . Further, while its rare, schizophrenia can be diagnosed as early as childhood and as late as the 40s .

    Age provides a general idea of the likelihood that someone has schizophrenia. Schizophrenia wont be the first consideration for a man in his 40s, for example. Beyond this, age isnt a diagnostic criterion. Just what are the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia?

    You May Like: Aphobia Definition

    What Is Paranoid Schizophrenia

    Paranoid schizophrenia is one type of schizophrenia. In this type, the person’s false beliefs are mainly about being persecuted or being punished by someone. The person may hear the voice of someone he or she believes is punishing them. The person may believe that he or she has been specially chosen to complete a secret mission. These are just a few examples of any number of false beliefs a person with this disorder may have.

    Other types of schizophrenia include “catatonic” schizophrenia and “disorganized” schizophrenia. Different types of schizophrenia may have some of the same symptoms.

    Here Are Some Things You Can Do To Help Your Loved One:

    • Help them get treatment and encourage them to stay in treatment
    • Remember that their beliefs or hallucinations seem very real to them
    • Tell them that you acknowledge that everyone has the right to see things their way
    • Be respectful, supportive, and kind without tolerating dangerous or inappropriate behavior
    • Check to see if there are any support groups in your area

    Some symptoms require immediate emergency care. If your loved one is thinking about harming themselves or others or attempting suicide, seek help right away:

    Don’t Miss: What Is The Fear Of Vomiting Called

    What If I Am A Carer Friend Or Relative

    It can be distressing if you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who has schizophrenia. You can get support.

    How can I get support for myself?

    You can do the following.

    • Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
    • Speak to your relatives care team about family intervention. For more information about family intervention see the further up this page.
    • Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
    • Ask for a carers assessment.
    • Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
    • Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.

    What is a carers assessment?NICE guidelines state that you should be given your own assessment through the community mental health team to work out what effect your caring role is having on your health. And what support you need. Such as practical support and emergency support.

    The CMHT should tell you about your right to have a carers assessment through your local authority. To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.

    How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can call our advice service on 0808 801 0525. They will search for you.

    How can I support the person I care for?

    You can do the following.

    There is no definition for what high risk means. It could include:

    Early Warning Signs Of Schizophrenia

    25 symptoms of schizophrenia â how many of these do you ...

    In some people, schizophrenia appears suddenly and without warning. But for most, it comes on slowly, with subtle warning signs and a gradual decline in functioning, long before the first severe episode. Often, friends or family members will know early on that something is wrong, without knowing exactly what.

    In this early phase of schizophrenia, you may seem eccentric, unmotivated, emotionless, and reclusive to others. You may start to isolate yourself, begin neglecting your appearance, say peculiar things, and show a general indifference to life. You may abandon hobbies and activities, and your performance at work or school can deteriorate.

    Recommended Reading: Mania And Phobia List

    When Should I See My Doctor

    Some people with schizophrenia do not realise they have a problem or avoid health professionals if they have paranoid thoughts. Its important to get professional help to manage schizophrenia. If you or someone you know seems to be experiencing signs of schizophrenia, see your doctor as soon as possible.

    It can be hard to recognise signs of schizophrenia at first, but over time the changes in someones thinking and behaviour may get worse.

    See a doctor if you or someone you know:

    • gets very preoccupied with something
    • starts talking or writing very fast, or is talking much less than normal
    • seems muddled, irrational or is hard to understand
    • withdraws from normal activities
    • is hyperactive or starts behaving recklessly
    • laughs or cries inappropriately, or cannot laugh or cry or express happiness
    • doesnt look after their personal hygiene
    • develops depression or anxiety

    Although the majority of people with schizophrenia are not violent, severe symptoms can cause some people to have thoughts of suicide or harming others. If you think someone may be at risk of suicide or violence, call triple zero .

    Screening For Mental Health Problems

    Mental health screenings are informal symptom checks. Theyre typically checklists or questionnaires that ask people to consider their symptoms and either indicate that yes, they experience a given symptom, or no, they do not experience said symptom. Many prompt the test-taker to rate the degree of severity for each symptom he or she is experiencing.

    Screening tests dont diagnose mental disorders. Instead, theyre powerful tools for beginning to fully understand your mental health, to decide if you should see a mental health professional, and to figure out what youd like to improve. Additionally, mental health screening tests allow people of all ages to identify and discuss problems before they spiral down and out of control.

    Screening tools are sometimes available in places such as community health centers, clinics, and the offices of mental health organizations like the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the National Alliance on Mental Illness . Many times, these are free of charge. For the tech-savvy, screening apps are available for smartphones, and online psychological tests allow people to complete screenings on their own computer. Here are links to various screening tests on

    • rating scales

    1. Schulberg HC, Burns BJ. Mental disorders in primary care: epidemiologic, diagnostic, and treatment research directions. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1988 10:7987.

    Also Check: What Is The Fear Of Vomit Called

    What Type Of Schizophrenia Has The Most Favorable Diagnosis

    The prognosis of schizophrenia is more dependent on the factors relating to the individual themselves, rather than the sub-type of schizophrenia they are diagnosed with. Research suggests multiple factors are associated with a more favorable prognosis: being female, rapid onset of symptoms, older age of first episode, and the presence of predominantly positive symptoms are all examples of such factors.

    Other Considerations In Diagnosing Schizophrenia

    How Schizophrenia Is Diagnosed | Schizophrenia

    The DSM-5 includes other things that can help determine schizophrenia. Theyre not necessary diagnostic criteria, but their presence points to this serious mental illness.

    • Inability to understand someones intentions
    • Thinking insignificant things are highly, personally meaningful
    • Manic behavior

    In addition to these, people with schizophrenia often experience what is known as neurological soft sign, subtle abnormalities that arent severe enough to fit into any disorder but are problematic and indicative of a bigger problem, like schizophrenia. They can include:

    • Coordination problems
    • Left-right confusion
    • Difficulty with complex movement

    To diagnose schizophrenia, professionals examine all of the symptoms and features that are present . They also must look at what is not present.

    Also Check: Does Dehydration Cause Anxiety

    Community Mental Health Team

    If a diagnosis of schizophrenia is suspected, the GP should refer you to your local community mental health team .

    CMHTs are made up of different mental health professionals who support people with complex mental health conditions.

    A member of the CMHT team, usually a psychiatrist or a specialist nurse, will carry out a more detailed assessment of your symptoms. They’ll also want to know your personal history and current circumstances.

    To make a diagnosis, most mental healthcare professionals use a diagnostic checklist.

    Schizophrenia can usually be diagnosed if:

    • you’ve experienced 1 or more of the following symptoms most of the time for a month: delusions, hallucinations, hearing voices, incoherent speech, or negative symptoms, such as a flattening of emotions
    • your symptoms have had a significant impact on your ability to work, study or perform daily tasks
    • all other possible causes, such as recreational drug use or bipolar disorder, have been ruled out

    More articles

    Popular Articles