What tests are done for children with schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that research studies have shown that many children are misdiagnosed with mental illnesses. Many of the symptoms of schizophrenia are similar to symptoms found in other illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and drug addiction. Further, hallucinations can be common in young people without schizophrenia, especially if they have another mental illness and are experiencing stress.

Therefore, the assessment for a diagnosis of schizophrenia may require an extensive amount of time and effort. Doctors will want to rule out other illnesses before giving a child a diagnosis of schizophrenia. To accurately diagnose schizophrenia, a child will need to have a series of medical and psychological evaluations. These tests include a physical exam, blood tests, and questions about emotions and behaviors. The doctor will gather information from the parents and may also seek information from the child's school, including a review of the child's records and observations from teachers regarding the child's behavior and progress.

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