What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is an uncommon but severe, serious and disabling chronic psychiatric disorder where adolescents (before the age of 18 year, rare for children younger than 13 years of age) 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 in children and teens?
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).
Symptoms in teengagers may resemble other medical or psychiatric conditions and may include:
- withdrawal from friends or family
- extreme moodiness
- paranoia (feeling “people are out to get them”)
- poor school performance
- hearing voices and seeing things which are not real
- eccentric behavior and/or speech
- confused thinking
- sleep disruption
- poor motivation
- substance abuse
- severe anxiety and fearfulness
- become agitated and confused or becoming immobilized
- poor personal hygiene/dress
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: November 20, 2019 12:19 PM
Weekly Support Programs
This group is temporarily suspended. Please stay tuned for updates. 8 week program. This group therapy program is designed for children ages 7 to 17 with behavioral issues, including but not limited to ADHD. The weekly sessions teach innovative techniques to assist children with managing feelings, developing organization skills, maximizing their concentration abilities and socialization skills.
Mosaico Therapy Group
This six-week group therapy program is designed for teens who have symptoms of depression, emotional dysregulation, and interpersonal challenges.
8 week program. Calm Kids is a weekly group therapy course designed to teach children strategies on how to take control over anxiety symptoms. Children will learn how to cope with fears and worries, identify anxiety triggers, how to relax the mind and body and maximize their self-confidence.
Teen Sleep Group
The six-week program is designed for teens ages 12 to 17 experiencing difficulties related to sleep, including daytime sleepiness, trouble waking in the morning, difficulty falling asleep and waking in the middle of the night. The goal of this group is to give teens the tools and strategies they need in order to get more sleep and better quality sleep.
Wise Girls Workshop
Wise Girls Workshop is a six-session, primary prevention program, facilitated by the Department of Psychology and thoughtfully designed to empower middle school students ages 11-14 through evidenced-based practices. Each session is 60 minutes long and will include 8-10 young female participants.