How does one differentiate schizophrenia from other psychotic disorders like schizophreniform, schizoaffective, delusional, brief psychotic, shared psychotic or psychotic disorder due to a general...

How does one differentiate schizophrenia from other psychotic disorders like schizophreniform, schizoaffective, delusional, brief psychotic, shared psychotic or psychotic disorder due to a general medical condition, and substance induced psychotic disorder?

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While there are several similarities between schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders, there are also some major differences.  Schizophrenia is a much more severe mental illness.  While other disorders like schizoaffective disorder can cause hallucinations and delusions, they are not usually as severe or last as long as they would in an individual with schizophrenia.  Unlike other psychiatric disorders, people with schizophrenia are often very tied into their delusions and have difficulty separating them from reality.  In order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, the individual must have been experiencing symptoms regularly for at least 6 months.  In individuals with other disorders, the symptoms may be more short-term and may come and go rather than being constant.

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