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How does a doctor screen someone for schizoaffective disorder?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
When a person visits a doctor and has symptoms of schizophrenia and a major mood disorder, the doctor may screen him for schizoaffective disorder. The doctor will first ask the person if he has experienced any psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, paranoia, or delusions. He or she will also ask the person about mood symptoms like depression and sadness, or mania and euphoria. A doctor may ask the person about his personal relationships, since people with schizoaffective disorder tend to be isolated. A medical exam will probably be performed to rule out certain health conditions that might mimic schizophrenia, including alcohol or drug abuse. The doctor will also need to get a thorough medical history and family background from the person. If other family members have been diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, the person will be at a higher risk of having the illness.
Deborah Davis
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
Persons with schizoaffective disorders usually experience psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, disorganized thinking, paranoid thoughts as well as mood disturbances. They tend to be isolated and avoided. To establish a diagnosis, one must have demonstrated, at some point, delusions or hallucinations for at least two weeks even when mood disorder symptoms are under control. A diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder usually comes after an in-depth interview with a doctor. This interview is inclusive of a medical, psychiatric and  social history and also ask about symptoms and mental well-being. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.