A psychological disorder, schizophrenia, is rare among children. The condition can be treated to a large extent with medication and family support.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a delusional perception or expression of real life situations. The disorder may cause distortion of the fives senses, like the sense of touch, smell, taste, hearing, and sight. However, schizophrenia is popularly known to cause hallucinations, delusions and paranoia. Though there is no way for a laboratory test to determine the schizophrenic condition, studies suggest that genetics, neurobiology and the psychological and social developments in a person contribute to schizophrenia.
However uncommon, the disorder causes strange behavior among children due to strange feelings and thinking. Again there is no cause to be nailed. The same reasons that contribute to the condition in adults is believed to affect children as well. Sadly, there is no cure for the disorder, but it can be controlled with medical help.
There are no specific reasons that trigger or cause schizophrenia in children. However, studies suggest that genetics may be blamed for this disorder. Early neurodevelopment increases the risk of schizophrenia. A freak study, shows that babies born in winter or spring, in the northern hemisphere, are likely to develop schizophrenia. Also prenatal exposure to infections, makes the fetus susceptible to schizophrenia in later life. Social adversity, racial discrimination, broken families, and traumatized childhood can also cause schizophrenia. Often, children from broken homes, with poor education, take recourse in excessive drug abuse. The narcotic substances have a clear connection with the mental disorder.
Auditory hallucinations, delusions, disorganization of thoughts, unusual thinking, and speech are some symptoms of this disorder. Disorganized thoughts refer to irregular flow of sentences, which makes it difficult for the child to communicate the problem. These kids may show signs of social withdrawal. They may remain mute, motionless or in one position for a long time. Erratic behavior is also a symptom of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is generally seen in late adolescence and early adulthood because, it is already the most turbulent time of one’s life. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia include delusions, auditory hallucinations, and thought disorder. The negative symptoms manifest as the loss of normal traits, blunted emotions, impaired speech, depression, and no motivation.
The antipsychotic medication helps in reducing the positive effects of the disorder. The newly developed, atypical antipsychotic medication, is the preferred medication. Each case of schizophrenia responds differently to the treatment. Psychotherapy is also advised by the doctors. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT helps to improve the self-esteem of the patient, social behavior, and insight of the patient. Other ways of treating the disorder is through family therapy and neuropsychological rehabilitation.
Schizophrenia in children, leaves them with a social stigma, which becomes a bigger problem for them to deal with than the disorder itself. Although the horrific ailment cannot be cured, it can be controlled through adequate medication. The rate of relapsing can be brought down with the love and support of family members.