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There are no tests for schizophrenia. The doctor will gather information to reach a diagnosis. Steps may include:

  • The doctor will track symptoms linked to emotional or behavioral health. Personal and family health past will be reviewed. Family members and other people who are close may also be able to provide information on any changes in personality or behavior.
  • Tests will be done to rule out other causes. Psychosis and other symptoms of schizophreniacan be caused by other health conditions, medicine, and drug or alcohol misuse. A physical exam and lab or imaging tests may be done.
  • A mental health specialist can help to review current and past mental health problems. They can help to diagnose or rule out other mental health issues such as depression or post traumatic stress disorder.

Schizophrenia is diagnosed when certain symptoms are present for several months and other causes have been ruled out. Symptoms will be different for each person. Diagnosis is not made on specific symptoms but the full picture of symptoms. For example, the American Psychiatric Association requires some or all of the following to be present for a diagnosis:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech
  • Very abnormal behavior such ascatatonia, when someone is stuck in stupor
  • Any negative symptoms such as flat affect or social withdrawal

The medical team will also look for problems in day to day life with:


Holder SD, Wayhs A. Schizophrenia. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(11):775-782.

Schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Updated November 29, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2019.

Schizophrenia. Mental Health America website. Available at: Accessed August 15, 2019.

Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Updated February 2016. Accessed August 15, 2019.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
  • Review Date: 12/2019
  • Update Date: 08/15/2019