Do you know what is childhood schizophrenia? This is one rare but serious mental illness about which there is still much to investigate and discover. In addition, it requires a treatment for life.
Schizophrenia is a chronic psychotic disorder. It is associated with serious deficits in cognition, personality disorders, hallucinations and loss of contact with reality. Here we explain more about this disease in children.
General information on childhood schizophrenia
In most cases, the principle of schizophrenia occurs between 14 and 35 years. Between the ages of 13 and 18, it is considered an early onset, whereas if the age is earlier, the prognosis is usually quite unfavorable.
However, only 1 in 10,000 children are diagnosed in childhood. These data make childhood schizophrenia a rare but serious mental illness.
Everything you need to know about childhood schizophrenia
Are hallucinations the main symptom?
First of all, we should know that Hallucinations are not always the confirmation of childhood schizophrenia. They can also be due to psychological traumas or some type of autism.
Children with schizophrenia also suffer from Thought disorder, aggressive impulsive behavior and other negative symptoms like apathy or social isolation. The latter could also be confused with depressive states. Therefore, a diagnosis that takes into account the entire clinic is important.
Read also Differences between Asperger's syndrome and autism
Other symptoms of childhood schizophrenia
The symptoms of childhood schizophrenia can vary in each child; however, they often affect your thinking, behavior and emotions.
In general, schizophrenia is characterized by problems that affect thinking, behavior and emotions. Delusions and hallucinations are frequent, as well as disorganized speech.
Unfortunately, this disease is difficult to detect in the early stages. However, children could suffer delays in speech and also for crawling and walking. Also other atypical motor behaviors such as shaking some parts of the body or swinging.
Later, other disorders such as strange behaviors and alterations in behavior with family and friends may arise. Problems sleeping, irritability and lack of motivation are also frequent features.
Another of the symptoms of childhood schizophrenia is the violent attitude, about which much remains to be studied at such an early age. This study was based on children between 4 and 15 years of age with schizophrenic spectrum diseases.
72% had a history of violent behavior, while a third highlighted by a very important aggressiveness. Of these episodes, in some cases a specific cause is not found, which is why it is considered impulsive violence of internal origin.
Read also Aggressiveness in children: my son suddenly becomes aggressive
Is the cause known?
The exact cause of childhood schizophrenia is unknown at this time. However, the genetic component could play an important role in its development.
The cause of childhood schizophrenia is still unknown, which may be the same as in adults. The studies point to genetic causes and alterations in brain chemical processes (dopamine and glutamate).
However, some factors that may influence the appearance of this disease are known:
- Family history with this disease.
- Consumption of psychoactive drugs.
- Alteration of the immune system.
- Complications during pregnancy or childbirth.
- Father of advanced age.
The risk of suicide is high
One of the greatest fears of patients and their families, as well as doctors, is the risk of suicide. This is very important to keep in mind because the statistics show that 90% of young people who commit suicide suffer a mental disorder.
Specific, 30% of young people who suffer from schizophrenia will try to commit suicide throughout their lives. Therefore, monitoring is essential from an early age.
How is the treatment for childhood schizophrenia?
The treatment of schizophrenia is for life, whether it starts in childhood or in adulthood. The most important thing is to start it as soon as possible in order to reduce psychotic episodes and their long-term effects.
Now you know a little more about the symptoms and characteristics of childhood schizophrenia. Remember that many symptoms may be related to other mental disorders. Therefore, it will be the doctor who makes the definitive diagnosis, as well as the personalized treatment.