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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.

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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.