Psychosis, reality distortion symptoms in the form of delusions and hallucinations, tends to be the first manifestation of schizophrenia, but it is also indicative of other psychiatric conditions. Psychiatrists concentrate on the patient’s development after the psychotic episode to help determine the correct diagnosis.
Some studies indicate that 20% of patients have their initial diagnosis of schizophrenia changed to another psychiatric illness within two years of the first psychotic episode. Bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder and psychosis, derived from substance abuse, are the most frequently diagnosed conditions once schizophrenia has been ruled out.
This should not be taken as a diagnostic error by the psychiatrist. As there is no specific test to confirm whether a patient has schizophrenia, then the diagnosis is made exclusively in function of the symptoms presented by the patient. On most occasions, when a person is initially diagnosed, they should be reviewed regularly for the first few months or years.