First, Schizophrenia is very rare in children and adolescents. Less than one child in every 10,000 children, before the age of 12, show symptoms of Schizophrenia, but 23 of every 10,000, adolescents or teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18, display indications of Schizophrenia, (Androutsos, 2012).
Schizophrenia symptoms vary greatly between children, adolescents and adults which is why many symptoms are difficult to deduce. There is believed to be a genetic component related to early onset Schizophrenia making family history very important while discussing Schizophrenia with one’s doctor.
Common symptoms of Adolescent Schizophrenia include: Social withdrawal, Decreased Performance (academically, sports, i.e.), Irritability, Moodiness, Strange behavior, Visual hallucinations and Delusions.
Why is this important?
· Schizophrenia is a lifetime diagnosis which requires ongoing treatment to manage the debilitating symptoms
· Treatments for Schizophrenia include: Medications, Psychotherapy, and Hospitalization. Early detection and intervention coincide with better results.
. Current medications include antipsychotics: Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa.
. More data is needed to determine the safety of antipsychotics in children and adolescents with Schizophrenia. This can only be determined through clinical research studies.
- Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-schizophrenia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354489
- Sky Land Trail: https://www.skylandtrail.org/our-programs/what-we-treat/schizophrenia/
- Androutsos, C. H. (2012). Schizophrenia in children and adolescents: relevance and differentiation from adult schizophrenia. Psychiatrike= Psychiatriki, 23, 82-93.