How can I tell if someone has schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
It is impossible to tell if someone has schizophrenia based on one symptom.  Although the presentation of auditory hallucinations (where people hear voices that are not real) is the most common symptom associated with schizophrenia, this symptom alone does not establish that a person has schizophrenia. If you suspect that a friend or loved one has schizophrenia, discuss your concerns with a health professional. A doctor may perform a variety of tests to diagnose the illness. Blood tests, MRI or CT scans, physical exams, and a thorough psychological assessment will be performed. For an accurate diagnosis, two symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusional thinking, hallucinations, altered speech or behavior, or abnormal thought processes, must be present and negatively impact the person's life for at least six months.

Continue Learning about Schizophrenia

The Signs of Schizophrenia in Your Early 20’s
The Signs of Schizophrenia in Your Early 20’s
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by fragmented thoughts and a distorted perception of reality. There is currently no cure. While the o...
Read More
Who gets schizophrenia?
Greenville Health SystemGreenville Health System
Men, women, and rarely children can get schizophrenia. Symptoms such as hallucinations (seeing or he...
More Answers
What do I need to know about caring for someone with schizophrenia?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
The National Institutes of Mental Health explains that family members are often the primary care...
More Answers
What Is the Current Treatment for Schizophrenia?
What Is the Current Treatment for Schizophrenia?

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.