Early Onset Schizophrenia
Early Onset Schizophrenia or Childhood Schizophrenia begins earlier in life impacting behavior and development. Symptoms can appear before the age of 18 and even in some cases it can be before age 13.
Symptoms that are often seen include social isolation, poor grades, insomnia, irritability, depression, lack of drive, odd behaviors, and substance abuse. These symptoms are part of a “Prodromal Phase” which means just before a psychotic episode appears. It is very important to identify these early signs to avoid a full-blown psychotic episode that has the potential be detrimental to the individual’s development.
Symptoms that could show later in the progression of the disorder include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thoughts and behaviors, negative symptoms, suicidal thoughts, and paranoia.
It is important for parents to understand that in many cases the fact of having “hallucinations” does not mean that the patient suffers from Schizophrenia. There are different organic causes as well as medication side effects that could potentially cause these symptoms. If this is the case, we could expect full resolution of symptoms.
If the symptoms are consistent with schizophrenia, early treatment can significantly improve the long-term prognosis.