What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is one of the most complex of all mental health disorders. It is a severe, chronic, and disabling disturbance of the brain that causes distorted thinking, strange feelings, and unusual behavior and use of language and words.
What causes schizophrenia?
There is no known single cause responsible for schizophrenia. It is believed that chemical imbalance in the brain is an inherited factor which is necessary for schizophrenia to develop. However, it is likely that many factors - genetic, behavioral, and environmental- play a role in the development of this condition.
Schizophrenia is considered to be multifactorially inherited. ...view middle of the document...
If a parent has schizophrenia, the chance for an adolescence to have a disorder is 10 percent. Risks increases with multiple affected members.
What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia?
In adolescents with schizophrenia, behavior changes may occur slowly, over time, or have sudden onset. The adolescent may gradually become more shy and withdrawn. They may begin to talk about bizarre ideas or fears and begin to cling more to parents. One of the most disturbing and puzzling characteristics of schizophrenia is the sudden onset of its psychotic symptoms. "Psychotic" refers to ideas, perceptions, or feelings that are grossly distorted from reality. The following are the most common symptoms of Schizophrenia. However, each adolescent may experience symptoms differently.
Early warning signs of schizophrenia in adolescents may include:
• distorted perception of reality (difficulty telling dreams from reality)
• Confused thinking (i.e., confusing television with reality)
• detailed and bizarre thoughts and ideas
• suspiciousness and/or paranoia (fearfulness that someone, or something, is going to harm them)
• hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not real such a hearing voices telling them to do something)
• delusions (ideas that seemed real but are based on reality)
• extreme moodiness
• severe anxiety and/or fearfulness
• flat affect (lack of emotional expression when speaking)
• difficulty performing schoolwork
• social withdrawal (severe problems in making and keeping friends)
• disorganized and catatonic behavior (i.e., an older child may regress significantly and begin acting like a younger child)
The symptoms of Schizophrenia are often classified as positive (symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, and bizarre behavior), negative (symptoms including flat affect, withdrawal, and emotional unresponsiveness), disorganized speech (including speech that is incomprehensible), and disorganized or catatonic behavior (including marked mood swings, sudden aggression, or confusion, followed by sudden motionless and staring). The symptoms of Schizophrenia in adolescents are similar to adults, however, adolescents, more often (in 80 percent of diagnosed cases), experience auditory hallucinations and typically do not experience delusions or formal thought disorders until mid-adolescence or older. The symptoms of Schizophrenia may resemble other problems or psychiatric conditions.
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
Schizophrenia in children and adolescents it is usually diagnosed by a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Other mental health professionals usually participate in the completion of a comprehensive mental health evaluation to determine individualized treatment needs.
Treatment for schizophrenia:
Specific treatment for schizophrenia will be determined by an adolescent's physician based on: