Psychotic Disorders: Schizophrenia in Children and Teens

Reviewed Jun 30, 2017

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Summary

Early schizophrenia warning signs:

  • Confused thinking
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Paranoia, anxiety, or fearfulness

What is schizophrenia?

It is an illness that affects people from all races, genders, and wage levels. This health problem makes it hard for a person to tell what is real or not. It also makes it hard for a person to think and act normally. Schizophrenia is not a split personality. It is not caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family. It is not caused by laziness or being weak. It has a physical cause just like high blood sugar or a heart problem.

Early signs

Some estimates say that 1 percent of all people have it. The first signs most often appear between the ages of 15 and 25, but can show up before the age of 12. If your doctor suspects your child has it, he will look for these early warning signs:

  • Seeing things or hearing things that are not real
  • Confused thinking
  • Problems with telling dreams from reality
  • Believing TV, movies, or video games are real
  • Wide mood swings
  • Odd behavior
  • Paranoia, or thinking that others are trying to hurt them on purpose
  • Worry and fearfulness

Adult schizophrenia can come on all of the sudden. Children will show slow changes in their behavior. Many parents also say that their child showed signs of being "different” from a very early age.

Treatment choices

Medicines are the main treatment. There are many new ones on hand. If the first type does not help, ask your doctor to try another. Also, it may take time to adjust the dose. Adjusting or lowering the dose can help with unpleasant side effects.

Family and one-to-one therapy can also help everyone cope with the changes and feelings that result from their child’s illness. Structured programs can help your child with her daily living skills. She may be able to sign up for special services or special education programs.

Tips for parents

  • When a child first begins having signs of a psychotic illness, it can be scary for the family. Learning all you can about schizophrenia can help ease some of your fears.
  • You must work with your child’s doctor to get the pills adjusted. While one-to-one or family therapy can help everyone adjust to the illness, drugs are still the most successful type of care. Many parents let their child stop taking the pills when she starts to get better, only to find she becomes ill again fairly quickly. Finding the right mixture and dose of drugs takes time. Also, as your child grows and changes, she may need to change the type or dose of pills.
  • For many people, psychotic disorders are made worse by stress. Once your child is stabilized, work with your child and your doctor to learn how to take care of stress.

Learn to notice the signs of relapse such as strange behavior, withdrawal, or aggression. Work with your mental health professional to find ways to deal with it before it becomes a crisis.

By Haline Grublak, CPHQ
Reviewed by Philip Merideth, MD, Peer Advisor, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Early schizophrenia warning signs:

  • Confused thinking
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Paranoia, anxiety, or fearfulness

What is schizophrenia?

It is an illness that affects people from all races, genders, and wage levels. This health problem makes it hard for a person to tell what is real or not. It also makes it hard for a person to think and act normally. Schizophrenia is not a split personality. It is not caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family. It is not caused by laziness or being weak. It has a physical cause just like high blood sugar or a heart problem.

Early signs

Some estimates say that 1 percent of all people have it. The first signs most often appear between the ages of 15 and 25, but can show up before the age of 12. If your doctor suspects your child has it, he will look for these early warning signs:

  • Seeing things or hearing things that are not real
  • Confused thinking
  • Problems with telling dreams from reality
  • Believing TV, movies, or video games are real
  • Wide mood swings
  • Odd behavior
  • Paranoia, or thinking that others are trying to hurt them on purpose
  • Worry and fearfulness

Adult schizophrenia can come on all of the sudden. Children will show slow changes in their behavior. Many parents also say that their child showed signs of being "different” from a very early age.

Treatment choices

Medicines are the main treatment. There are many new ones on hand. If the first type does not help, ask your doctor to try another. Also, it may take time to adjust the dose. Adjusting or lowering the dose can help with unpleasant side effects.

Family and one-to-one therapy can also help everyone cope with the changes and feelings that result from their child’s illness. Structured programs can help your child with her daily living skills. She may be able to sign up for special services or special education programs.

Tips for parents

  • When a child first begins having signs of a psychotic illness, it can be scary for the family. Learning all you can about schizophrenia can help ease some of your fears.
  • You must work with your child’s doctor to get the pills adjusted. While one-to-one or family therapy can help everyone adjust to the illness, drugs are still the most successful type of care. Many parents let their child stop taking the pills when she starts to get better, only to find she becomes ill again fairly quickly. Finding the right mixture and dose of drugs takes time. Also, as your child grows and changes, she may need to change the type or dose of pills.
  • For many people, psychotic disorders are made worse by stress. Once your child is stabilized, work with your child and your doctor to learn how to take care of stress.

Learn to notice the signs of relapse such as strange behavior, withdrawal, or aggression. Work with your mental health professional to find ways to deal with it before it becomes a crisis.

By Haline Grublak, CPHQ
Reviewed by Philip Merideth, MD, Peer Advisor, Beacon Health Options

Summary

Early schizophrenia warning signs:

  • Confused thinking
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Paranoia, anxiety, or fearfulness

What is schizophrenia?

It is an illness that affects people from all races, genders, and wage levels. This health problem makes it hard for a person to tell what is real or not. It also makes it hard for a person to think and act normally. Schizophrenia is not a split personality. It is not caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family. It is not caused by laziness or being weak. It has a physical cause just like high blood sugar or a heart problem.

Early signs

Some estimates say that 1 percent of all people have it. The first signs most often appear between the ages of 15 and 25, but can show up before the age of 12. If your doctor suspects your child has it, he will look for these early warning signs:

  • Seeing things or hearing things that are not real
  • Confused thinking
  • Problems with telling dreams from reality
  • Believing TV, movies, or video games are real
  • Wide mood swings
  • Odd behavior
  • Paranoia, or thinking that others are trying to hurt them on purpose
  • Worry and fearfulness

Adult schizophrenia can come on all of the sudden. Children will show slow changes in their behavior. Many parents also say that their child showed signs of being "different” from a very early age.

Treatment choices

Medicines are the main treatment. There are many new ones on hand. If the first type does not help, ask your doctor to try another. Also, it may take time to adjust the dose. Adjusting or lowering the dose can help with unpleasant side effects.

Family and one-to-one therapy can also help everyone cope with the changes and feelings that result from their child’s illness. Structured programs can help your child with her daily living skills. She may be able to sign up for special services or special education programs.

Tips for parents

  • When a child first begins having signs of a psychotic illness, it can be scary for the family. Learning all you can about schizophrenia can help ease some of your fears.
  • You must work with your child’s doctor to get the pills adjusted. While one-to-one or family therapy can help everyone adjust to the illness, drugs are still the most successful type of care. Many parents let their child stop taking the pills when she starts to get better, only to find she becomes ill again fairly quickly. Finding the right mixture and dose of drugs takes time. Also, as your child grows and changes, she may need to change the type or dose of pills.
  • For many people, psychotic disorders are made worse by stress. Once your child is stabilized, work with your child and your doctor to learn how to take care of stress.

Learn to notice the signs of relapse such as strange behavior, withdrawal, or aggression. Work with your mental health professional to find ways to deal with it before it becomes a crisis.

By Haline Grublak, CPHQ
Reviewed by Philip Merideth, MD, Peer Advisor, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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