Schizophrenia

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is an uncommon but severe, serious and disabling chronic psychiatric disorder where children (before the age of 18 years-rare before age 13 years) and young adults (mid to late 20’s) interpret reality abnormally, have strange thinking, (cognitive difficulties) and feelings (psychotic symptoms), and unusual behavior and emotions. These, with delusions and hallucinations, make ordinary daily functioning difficult.
 

What causes schizophrenia? 

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. Some combination of environmental, behavioral, and inherited genetic factors probably play a role.
 

What are the signs/symptoms of schizophrenia? 

Signs and symptoms may vary. Early indications include developmental delay like language delay, late crawling or walking, rocking or flapping arms (and other abnormal motor symptoms). Teenagers may present with withdrawal from friends or family, extreme moodiness, paranoia (“people out to get them”), poor school performance, hear voices and see things which are not real, eccentric behavior and/or speech, confused thinking, sleeping, poor motivation, substance abuse, severe anxiety and fearfulness, become agitated and confused or sit immobilized, and poor personal hygiene/dress. Symptoms may resemble other medical or psychiatric conditions.
 

What are schizophrenia care options? 

Treatment is complex and includes medications to reduce symptoms, individual and family psychotherapy, specialized education programs which aim to improve speech, social and other skills, self help and support groups.

 

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:20:06 PM


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