Lab tests for schizophrenia: Medical evaluation of persistent psychosis

Up to 10% of patients originally thought to have schizophrenia will have a physical condition that either exacerbates or directly causes the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a diagnosis of exclusion. DSM diagnostic criteria specify that a patient should not be diagnosed with schizophrenia if their symptoms are the result of a medical condition.

It’s therefore imperative that every patient with recent onset of schizophrenia-like symptoms should undergo a comprehensive medical, neurological and laboratory evaluation to search for medical conditions that might cause schizophrenia-like symptoms.


This is the PowerPoint deck from a presentation on the topic of ‘medical evaluation of first-episode psychosis’ to the First Episode Schizophrenia Treatment Group on 27 June 2017. Topics include:

  • The medical differential diagnosis of schizophrenia: a listing of medical illnesses that may cause schizophrenia-like symptoms
  • What is the prevalence of medical conditions that could cause schizophrenia-like symptoms among patients with a clinical presentation of schizophrenia.
  • What are the recommended medical tests that should be carried out for a person with recent-onset schizophrenia?

Diagnostic tests to rule out medical causes of schizophrenia-like psychosis