Archive for the ‘Schizophrenia’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Common Symptoms of Childhood Schizophrenia

The symptoms of childhood schizophrenia are very similar to those of adults, however in children the symptoms become apparent to adults very gradually until the child has their first psychotic episode.  The earliest signs of this debilitating disorder for children/adolescents are when the child becomes socially withdrawn, exhibits disruptive behaviors, speech or language problems, learning difficulties at school, and other delays in their development.  Children often experience hallucinatiosn that include their hearing voices, seeing images, smelling odors that are not there.  Some other common symptoms that parents should look for are:

Impaired speech, difficulty paying attention, inability to make decisions on their behalf, a flat facial expression or a lack of any type of emotion, hearing voices, believing in make believe way beyond when it is age-appropriate, and poor social or interpersonal skills.  Also, children with Schizophrenia begin to not take care of themselves, have disorganized thinking, and often seem depressed for no apparent reason. 

If a parent is concerned about their child that they are having difficulty functioning at school, at home, with their friends, or in their ability to care for themselves, they should contact their pediatrician.  The child’s pediatrician will most likely refer out to a psychiatrist for a psychiatric evaluation to determine a course of treatment.  Childhood Schizophrenia is very difficult to diagnose for a variety of reasons, but most importantly is because it is rare.  In addition, many other disorders and childhood behavioral problems overlap with many of the symptoms of Schizophrenia. 

Treatment of Childhood Schizophrenia usually includes anti-psychotic medication/s as the core or foundation for the treatment.  Family and/or individual counseling is also recommended in order to understand the disorder and also to cope with symptoms and behaviors that are associated with the disorder.  The symptoms of Schizophrenia are  absolutely manageable with the correct treatment and treatment usually includes medications, social, and psychological treatments.