Testing for schizophrenia often involves a multitude of physical and mental observations to determine a clear diagnosis. There is no “schizophrenia test” that provides a foolproof positive or negative diagnosis. Individuals with schizophrenia often come to the attention of healthcare providers when a person close to the sufferer notices atypical behavior exhibited by the patient. Strange behavior is usually the primary indicator, though depending on frequency of psychotic breaks, individuals with schizophrenia can go a long time without being diagnosed. In some cases the schizophrenia patients will seek help themselves if they are able to distinguish lapses in cognitive thought processes or breaks in reality.
To make an accurate diagnoses medical doctors and psychiatrists will work together to determine whether or not a potential patient is indeed suffering from schizophrenia. Interviews with family members, friends, co-workers and other people close to individual likely to be conducted. Doctors will seek to establish a pattern of normal behavior for the person in question and then determine whether or not the changes in their behavior match any of the subtypes of schizophrenia.
Physical tests include blood tests, eye tests and a variety of brain scans.
Since a predisposition for schizophrenia is determined by early childhood surroundings and genetics prescreening for schizophrenia can help individuals who have the potential to develop the illness reduce their likelihood of actually suffering from it. A variety of prescreening tests are available through most healthcare practitioners and online resources. Generally, the more family members that develop schizophrenia, the higher the likelihood that other family members will develop the illness as well.
Most prescreening tests can also reveal evidence of other disorders including panic disorders and anxiety disorders. If delusions, auditory hallucinations or other strong indicators of schizophrenia are experienced, seeking professional help is strongly advised.