Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To diagnose disorganized schizophrenia, a doctor or mental health provider typically runs a series of medical and psychological tests and exams. These can help pinpoint a diagnosis, rule out other problems that could be causing symptoms and check for any related complications.

These exams and tests generally include:

  • Physical exam. This may include measuring height and weight, checking vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature, listening to the heart and lungs, and examining the abdomen.
  • Laboratory tests. These may include a complete blood count (CBC), screening for alcohol and drugs, and checking thyroid function.
  • Psychological evaluation. A doctor or mental health provider will interview the person with possible schizophrenia about thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns. The provider will ask about symptoms, including when they started, how severe they are, how they affect daily life and whether similar episodes have occurred in the past. The provider will also ask about thoughts of suicide, self-harm or harming others. Talking with family or friends may help the doctor or mental health provider make an accurate diagnosis.

Diagnostic criteria for disorganized schizophrenia

To be diagnosed with disorganized schizophrenia, a person must meet certain symptom criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

Diagnostic criteria for disorganized schizophrenia include:

  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized behavior
  • Lack of emotion
  • Emotion inappropriate for the situation

It can sometimes be difficult to diagnose disorganized schizophrenia, especially because different conditions can have similar symptoms.

Dec. 10, 2010