Diagnosis is one of the most crucial aspects of overcoming schizophrenia. Due to the similarities in symptoms with some other mental disorders, it is important to evaluate and compare each symptom, as well as assess history of the patient to determine whether it is indeed schizophrenia that you are suffering from. On the other hand, you are also working on trying to avoid the possibility of misdiagnosis.
There is a wide range of diagnostic approach for patients of schizophrenia and you can find out more about each one below.
History and Physical Examination
Like any other form of diagnosis, always start by conducting an interview on the patient. The interview focuses on obtaining key information that will be used to determine the history of the patient’s mental condition, as well as trace the possibility of family history of the illness. According to experts, hereditary factors could also increase one’s risk factor to acquiring schizophrenia.
Make sure to conduct the interview in a well-lit and safe room. Make sure to provide enough personal space such that your patient does not feel agitated. With this setup, you can obtain pertinent information that will be useful in the diagnostic procedure.
Ask the patient to describe or discuss the circumstance that might have caused the symptoms to arise. Check with the patient if they had any history of drug use. Some health experts would contend that schizophrenia could be a possible complication from other conditions such as drug or narcotic abuse. Are they using antipsychotic? What are other substances they are taking? If you can interview the patient’s family, then it would also help enhance your information gathering to make the final diagnosis.
Patient Behavior Analysis
Do not just watch out for information provided by the patient during the interview; also watch out for non-verbal cues. Look for such cues as tone of voice, gait, posture, and other mannerisms. Are they responding to the stimuli? Or do they tend to look around the room often? List down all of these behavioral patterns because they will ultimately affect your final analysis of the symptoms leading up to your diagnosis of this mental disorder.
Interpreting Signs & Symptoms
This is the final step in diagnosing schizophrenia wherein you list down and evaluate all the signs and symptoms manifested by the patient. Aside from the possibility of diagnosing schizophrenia, it could also indicate the severity of the problem to determine what kind of treatment approach is most effective.
Delirium is one of the most notable symptoms of schizophrenia. When a patient is delirious, they tend to become disoriented in times of vigilance and alertness often resulting from hyperactive psychomotor. In most cases, it is triggered by vivid illusions. This symptom develops over time and is associated with several other similar conditions, often affecting one’s basic functions such as speech, memory, and level of consciousness. A careful evaluation of these symptoms are tied up together to determine the extent of the effect that schizophrenia has on the patient, if it indeed were diagnosed as schizophrenia.
Experts suggest that these various diagnostic approaches are combined together for a more accurate diagnosis and to suggest the most effective treatment plan.