Symptoms of Schizophrenia in Children and Adolescents

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In accordance with the psychosocial development studies done by Erik Erikson, humans below the age of 13 are classified as children and those between the ages of 13 and 19 are classified as adolescents. Childhood or adolescent Schizophrenia crops up in the early years of life; it is rare but is more troublesome to manage. A child or adolescent suffering from Schizophrenia can not function normally like others. His ability to think, take decisions and understand things is strictly hampered. A child suffering from Schizophrenia can be as young as 8 years.

Symptoms of Children with Schizophrenia

Children and adolescents with Schizophrenia suffer from hallucinations, delusions and distorted thinking, similar symptoms to an adult Schizophrenic patient, except few small variations. There can be a gradual shift in the behavior pattern of a child or adolescent with Schizophrenia. From having predictable behaviors, the children can display unpredictably bad behaviors. Children with Schizophrenia tend to stick with their parents all the time, they do not enjoy playing and chatting with other kids, they lose interest in most of the activities, face difficulty in concentrating on studies and their school performance degrades. School teachers are often first to notice their aberrant behavior first.

Treatment

To treat children and adolescents with Schizophrenia, group therapy, family therapy and atypical antipsychotic drugs are commonly used. The common practice is for parents to bring their child to a pediatrician and ask him to refer a psychiatrist who is good in diagnosing, assessing and treating children with Schizophrenia. Parents must try their best to encourage the child to participate in different activities in school that help to treat the mental disorder.

Understanding Schizophrenia in Children and Adolescents

For aptly understanding of childhood and adolescent Schizophrenia, parents must consult psychiatrist who has experience in dealing with children and adolescents. There are few instances when one might get confused whether a child has Schizophrenia or not:

1. Having imaginary friends and talking to unreal things – It is common for children to have imaginary friends that they play or talk with when they are around three years old; This is a fairly normal characteristic of children at this age. However, if such a characteristic is found in a 12 years old child or in a 15 years old adolescent, then parents need to be concerned, they must speak to the child and understand what he is feeling and must consult a pediatrician or a psychologist.

2. Grievance of losing a friend or family – An adolescent can feel sad over losing family member or a close friend, among other things. He might try to avoid going out and talk to anyone. At this time, it is common for people around the child to be unsure if he is suffering from Schizophrenia, especially if the family has a history of the mental disorder. At this point of time, it is recommended to talk to the adolescent and bring him in to a psychiatrist for counseling. The symptoms displayed can be either due to temporary depression or early onset of Schizophrenia.

It is not an easy task to tell the difference between Schizophrenia symptoms or behaviors of a normal playful child by yourself. If you suspect your child displays Schizophrenia symptoms, always seek help from a professional or a psychologist to help in the diagnosis.

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Source by Jared Wright

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