Test for schizophrenia


A schizophrenia test would ideally be a method for reliably detecting schizophrenia and excluding other causes of the symptoms, e.g. by means of a questionnaire or a laboratory test.
Unfortunately, such a specific and at the same time safe test does not yet exist and the diagnosis of schizophrenia has so far been made up of various tests, examinations and interpretations.

What tests are there?

The tests include, among other things, the various facets of cognitive performance, for example abstract thinking, logical combinations and the recognition of symbols. A major problem with schizophrenia is the distorted perception of other people and the misinterpretation of their actions, for example as hostile or malicious, so that they mistakenly feel threatened.

Read on under: Hallucinations

Such thought disorders can be recorded by means of tests and are part of the survey of the psychopathological findings, i.e. the psychiatric characterization of the patient. Most of these tests are oral tests that are carried out during a patient interview and have no special names.

For example, the patient is given a proverb whose deeper meaning he should explain. In many forms of thought disorder, the proverb is explained abstractly, i.e. literally, not in the same way.

There are also written, standardized questionnaires, such as the “Eppendorfer Schizophrenia Inventory” (ESI), which not only treat these thinking disorders, but also the symptoms and other factors of schizophrenia, as the doctor would otherwise do in a patient consultation.

Online tests from various providers also work according to this scheme. Such questionnaires are only used for the early detection of possible schizophrenia, which must then be further clarified.

A consultation with a doctor can therefore not be replaced.

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Who takes a schizophrenia test?

Schizophrenic patients usually don't realize they are sick. So there is no need for them to take such a test. It is therefore mainly people who have another psychological problem or just a mild form of schizophrenia, are worried and want to get to the bottom of their illness. In addition, relatives of people with mental illness are often engaged in online articles and tests about the disease.

Also read these topics:

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Are there tests for relatives?

As already explained, a schizophrenic person usually does not know that he is sick. Most of them are therefore only diagnosed if the people around them notice the symptoms and send the person to the doctor or the patient attracts attention in public. It is therefore mostly the relatives who notice the first abnormalities and are concerned.

Read more on the topic: Symptoms of schizophrenia

Many tests, especially on the Internet, are therefore not primarily aimed at those affected, but rather at the assessment of their relatives. However, these tests are not standardized and were not developed by doctors, so they are not always meaningful. Therefore, one should pay attention to the seriousness of the provider. But here too, only a visit to the doctor can confirm or refute the suspicion. The doctor, on the other hand, is usually grateful if relatives can provide information about the patient and the course of the symptoms, as the sufferers themselves cannot or do not want to report truthfully because of their schizophrenia and the views of those close to them are therefore very helpful.

Also read: The signs of impending schizophrenia.

Where can I get a schizophrenia test?

The only safe test is carried out by the doctor. But if you are looking for the first information by means of an online test, you should visit the pages of the university clinics or self-help groups or other medical institutions. An example of a relatively good test is that of the FEP, the early detection center for psychoses, which, in addition to the test, provides further assistance on how to proceed.

How serious are online tests?

The seriousness of online tests varies enormously. A good test must have been designed by specialists, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, and should never claim to be a complete diagnosis. Serious tests reveal tendencies and risk factors and not schizophrenia itself, because only a psychiatrist can do that after excluding other diseases.

If the providers, such as self-help groups or psychiatric centers, appear trustworthy, the questionnaires are usually well done. Non-medical sources such as magazines, blogs, and other lifestyle websites, while promoting the most promising claims, are in most cases simply useless.

Schizophrenia is an incredibly complex disease and patients usually have no insight into the disease. Superficial questions about typical characteristics of the disease are therefore of no significance.

What is the mask test?

During the mask test, the test person is shown a mask whose curvature creates an optical illusion. The mask rotates and is therefore viewed from the outside and inside, whereby our brain processes the information in such a way that the inside also appears curved outwards and we can see the mask from both sides in the same way.

Some people do not fall for this illusion, for example alcohol or addiction patients, but also many people with schizophrenia. The complex interconnections that enable our brain to generate a "meaningful" image, even if reality provides incomplete information, seem to be disturbed in these patient groups. The mask test is still not a screening method for people at risk of schizophrenia, as the test is simply too unspecific and unsafe for medical purposes.

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How sure is the result of the test?

If the illusion is not perceived during the mask test, the processing in the brain is undoubtedly different from that of the rest of the population. This may or may not be due to schizophrenia.
From the eye to the brain, the information has to go through many processing and modification processes that can be influenced by all possible disruptive factors. The test therefore certainly shows a connectivity disorder or abnormality in the brain, which needs further clarification, but is in no way indicative of schizophrenia. It is therefore certain that the test will capture something, but whether it is schizophrenia can only be determined by a psychiatrist.