Childhood Schizophrenia happens. Although this chronic brain disorder is more prevalent in adults, occurrences of hallucinations have been reported in children as young as 5 years of age. Still, parents need not panic, as pediatric schizophrenia only develops in about 1 in 40,000 children.
As a parent if you suspect something is mighty wrong, it usually is. Most especially if schizophrenia 'runs in the family', you should get familiar with the symptoms of early onset Schizophrenia.
Childhood Schizophrenia is a difficult diagnosis. Its symptoms are often mistaken for autism, Asperger syndrome or bipolar disorder. Lab tests and psychiatric evaluations are necessary to distinguish this brain malfunction from other mental challenges.
What are Symptoms of Early Onset Schizophrenia?
Children manifest similar symptoms of adult Schizophrenia including social withdrawal, hallucinations and delusions. This ...view middle of the document...
Inner-voices are clear indicators of pediatric Schizophrenia. Medical intervention is not only desirable at this point, it is essential. Otherwise, the voices tend to escalate, telling the child to do violent things.
What about School Age Children?
If pediatric Schizophrenia is not diagnosed, when the child starts to school they may experience sleep interruption, making it hard to concentrate. Often, he will avoid friends. Delusions may occur where the child thinks somebody is spying on her or he believes he has developed super-powers. Suicidal ideations are common in these children.
What Causes Childhood Schizophrenia?
As we stated in the beginning: Childhood Schizophrenia happens. The root cause of Schizophrenia remains a mystery to mainstream medical professionals.
According to evidence based research and previous experience, genetics and environment are chief contributors. It is also known that their brain structure is abnormal, with four times less gray matter evident in frontal lobes. Several links with Childhood Schizophrenia include:
• Child Abuse – Some psychiatrists believe abused children are three times more at risk of developing Schizophrenia. Mounting evidence supports that childhood abuse can trigger mental illnesses later in life.
• Genetic Predilection – If one or both parents have Schizophrenia, the child is at greater risk for this mental illness.
• Stress – Stressful childhood experiences are considered potential triggers.
• Inability to Metabolize Glucose – Studies have shown children with early onset Schizophrenia lack the capabilities to metabolize glucose.
• Environmental Toxins - exposure to harmful toxins such as lead paint, pesticides, etc. heightens risk.
How is Childhood Schizophrenia Treated?
Antipsychotic medications generally help manage schizophrenic symptoms. These meds are notorious for their side-effects. Unfortunately, antipsychotics are what we've got.
In conjunction with personal therapy from a psychologist and family support, hopefully Childhood Schizophrenia will improve to the point the child can function in school and social situations.