Though schizophrenia is more commonly seen among adults, it can also be present in children and young adults. It must be noted, though, that the only difference between childhood schizophrenia and adult schizophrenia is that the former shows up earlier in a person’s life than the latter does. Early onset schizophrenia comes on before a person is eighteen years old, and is rarely seen in someone before they are thirteen years old. Most schizophrenia symptoms fall under three kinds: Behavior, Emotions, and Thinking.
Behavioral symptoms may include a person having difficulty sleeping, isolating oneself from those closest to them, being violent, and not having the incentive to do daily tasks such as showering or doing school work. Emotional symptoms can include being depressed, being suspicious of other people, and not showing any emotions. Thinking symptoms may include believing fiction to actually be reality and not being able to think logically. These are some symptoms, but as one gets older and the disorder progressives, the symptoms can get relatively worse.
Worsening symptoms of schizophrenia can be the onset of hallucinations, the start of misinterpretations of social behaviors, and being scatterbrained. Hallucinations involve a person seeing things or hearing voices that are actually not real. These tricks of the mind can seem very real to the person experiencing them. A person with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations which cause them to misjudge how others feel about them. This perception a person with schizophrenia can have about those around them is one of the most common symptoms. Another symptom is a person becoming absentminded which can include not being able to concentrate or fidgeting around a lot. While all these symptoms can be very overwhelming to go through, and schizophrenia is chronic, it is very treatable (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2021).
The first step in childhood schizophrenia being treated is going to a psychiatrist. From there they can help with an official diagnosis and then begin to make a treatment plan. One option is for a patient to go on a low dose of an antipsychotic drug. This can help with any hallucinations one may be experiencing. Another alternative is going to therapy to help talk out what one is feeling. This therapy can be great for a child because they can get a better understanding of schizophrenia and how it affects them. Children with schizophrenia can also go to different classes or training to help them feel more comfortable. The classes can be on subjects like learning how to build healthy relationships in connection to their schizophrenia. And if symptoms get extremely severe, a child can be hospitalized to get the special care they need to feel better (Schizophrenia, 2021).
While schizophrenia, especially among children, can be very difficult, it is very treatable, especially when families make some of the accommodations mentioned. People can acknowledge and work through their schizophrenia symptoms.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Childhood Schizophrenia.” Mayo Clinic, 19 May 2021, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-schizophrenia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354483.
“Schizophrenia .” Boston’s Children Hospital, 2021, https://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/s/schizophrenia/diagnosis-and-treatments.