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Living a Full Life with Schizophrenia

5 Things You Need to Know Before Taking a Schizophrenia Test

5 Things You Need to Know Before Taking a Schizophrenia Test

It can be a confusing and nerve-wracking journey to understand schizophrenia, whether you might have it, and how to seek effective treatment. The first step on the path towards a better life with schizophrenia often starts with a schizophrenia test.


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What Is a Schizophrenia Test? 

Schizophrenia Test: woman consulting a doctor

When you begin trying to figure out if you might have Schizophrenia, you might look for a Schizophrenia test. Those who are unfamiliar with the world of psychology might not realize the variety of tests, evaluations, and assessments that might be considered a kind of schizophrenia test. There are three general categories that we will review: online tests, self-assessments, and clinical evaluations and diagnoses.

The Online Schizophrenia Test


The Online Schizophrenia Test

There are a number of places online where you can find quick tests that ask questions related to known symptoms of schizophrenia. These tests can be insightful for understanding schizophrenia, but it's important to understand that they do not represent an official schizophrenia test, evaluation, or diagnosis. If you are looking for a quick online test to provide a little insight into your own thought processes and experiences that might line up with schizophrenia, you might want to try an online schizophrenia test.

The Self-Assessment


man thinking hard

If you suspect you might have schizophrenia, you might be tempted to do a self-assessment. A web search returns clinician-created self-assessments for individuals to determine whether they have possible schizophrenia symptoms that might be disrupting their lives.


Use caution when doing a self-assessment. It is often human nature to overestimate our abilities and how well we function. Conversely, those with more severe schizophrenia commonly underestimate their own abilities, and self-assessments can lead or contribute to feelings of hopelessness and depression. The best option is to seek a professional evaluation from an expert.

Clinical Schizophrenia Evaluation and Diagnosis


psychiatrist doing some test on a guy

The only way to determine whether you have schizophrenia and whether it is significantly impairing your life is to work with your physician and a trained psychological professional. It is usually a good idea to meet with your primary doctor first. Your doctor can work with you to rule out other medical causes of the symptoms and thought processes you may be experiencing. She or he can then refer you to a trained professional psychologist or psychiatrist to perform an evaluation.


When you begin working with your psychologist or psychiatrist to determine whether you have Schizophrenia, you will probably have to undergo something you might think of as a schizophrenia test. A diagnosis often begins and ends with referencing the symptoms and diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, currently in its fifth iteration (DSM-V). There is a range of what your psychologist might refer to as a "battery of tests." The psychologist will choose a specific battery of tests and evaluations based on your symptoms and their observations. If your symptoms seem to coincide with other diagnoses, you may work through several tests, including tests examining personality traits and possible mood disorders.

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What Clinical Schizophrenia Tests Are There? 

woman talking to a doctor

The schizophrenia test that your psychologist or psychiatrist chooses will vary. There are several Symptom Rating Scales used as a schizophrenia test, though a few scales tend to be used more commonly than others, some in conjunction with each other.

Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS) and Scale for the Assessment of Positive Symptoms (SAPS) 

The Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS)

Negative Symptoms Assessment 16 (NSA-16)

Negative Symptoms Assessment 4 (NSA-4)

Clinical Global Impression-Schizophrenia (CGI-SCH) Scale

Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms and Brief Negative Symptom Scale (CAINS and BNSS)

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5 Things You Need to Know before Taking a Schizophrenia Test

Online Tests Cannot Replace a Diagnosis

Your Doctor Must First Rule Out Medical Conditions

Your Psychiatric Testing Might Be Short or Extensive

Time Is Important to Diagnosis

A Schizophrenia Test Is the First Step towards Hope

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Conclusion

If you are preparing to take your first schizophrenia test, you might be feeling anxious about the results. It can help to know what might be involved beforehand. Even more important, you should realize that mental health diagnoses, including schizophrenia, is merely the first step in recovery and becoming the person you've always wanted to be. Don't be scared to take that first step. It's time to know for sure.

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