When doctors suspect someone has schizoaffective disorder, they typically ask for medical and psychiatric histories, conduct a physical exam, and run medical and psychological tests, such as:
- Blood tests, drug screening and imaging studies. These may include a lab test called a complete blood count (CBC), other blood tests that may help rule out conditions with similar symptoms, and screening for alcohol and other drugs. The doctor may also request imaging studies, such as an MRI or CT scan.
- Psychological evaluation. A doctor or mental health provider will check mental status by observing appearance and demeanor and asking about thoughts, moods, delusions, hallucinations, substance abuse, and potential for violence or suicide.
Diagnostic criteria for schizoaffective disorder
To be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a person must meet criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions.
DSM criteria for the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder include:
Jan. 25, 2014
- A mood disorder (major depression or mania) along with schizophrenia
- Delusions or hallucinations for at least two weeks, even when mood disorder symptoms are under control
- A mood disorder present for the majority of time over the entire course of the schizophrenic illness
- Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed July 16, 2013.
- Schizoaffective disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=23043. Accessed July 16, 2013.
- Malaspina D, et al. Schizoaffective disorder in the DSM-5. Schizophrenia Research. In press. Accessed July 16, 2013.
- Schak KM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 13, 2013.