Schizophrenia is diagnosed by getting involved and ruling out the other mental health disorders and determining that symptoms are not due to constituent abuse, medication or any other medical condition. The diagnosis of Schizophrenia is done by the psychiatrists after a full psychiatric assessment. There are no blood tests or machinery scans which can conceive for the diagnosis and judgement for the person to be suffering from Schizophrenia. Only a psychiatrist can diagnose the patient with Schizophrenia after his/ her full psychiatric assessment.
Psychiatrists use manuals to diagnose mental illnesses. The main manuals used by doctors or Psychiatrists are as follows:
- ICD-10: International Classification of Diseases produced by the World Health Organization (WHO)
- (DSM-5): Diagnostic and Statistical Manual produced by the American Psychiatric Association.
These manuals explains about the symptoms which should be present in a person with a longer duration of at least continuous one month. The doctors might say of psychotic disorder or psychosis before the diagnosis of Schizophrenia, depending on the symptoms and its duration.
The symptoms of Schizophrenia being described as positive or negative does not mean they are good or bad symptoms.
Positive’ symptoms are experienced in addition to reality. Negative’ symptoms can affect the ability to function.
According to the revised fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, the below mentioned three diagnostic criteria must be met.
- Characteristic symptoms:
Two or more of the following, each present for much of the time during a one-month period (or less, if symptoms settled with treatment).
- Disorganized speech, which is a sign of formal thought disorder
- Grossly disorganized behavior (e.g. dressing improperly, crying frequently) or rigid unresponsive behavior
- Negative symptoms: Lack or decline in emotional response, lack or decline in speech, or lack or decline in motivation.
If the delusions are judged to be strange or unusual, or hallucinations consist of hearing one voice joining in a running commentary of the patient’s actions or of hearing two or more voices talking with each other, only that symptom is required above. The speech disorganization condition is only met if it is severe enough to significantly spoil communication.
2. Social or occupational dysfunction:
For a major portion of the time since the start of the disorder, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care, are markedly below the level reached prior to the beginning.
3. Significant duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance continue for at least six months. This six-month period must include at least one month of symptoms (or less, if symptoms forwarded with treatment).
If signs of disorder are present for more than a month but less than six months, the diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder is applied. Psychotic symptoms lasting less than a month may be diagnosed as brief psychotic disorder, and various conditions may be ranked as psychotic disorder not otherwise specified. Schizophrenia cannot be diagnosed if symptoms of mood disorder are extensively present (although schizoaffective disorder could be diagnosed), or if symptoms of universal developmental disorder are present unless prominent delusions or hallucinations are also present, or if the symptoms are the direct physiological result of a general medical condition or a substance, such as abuse of a drug or medication.