is a medical illness that causes strange thinking, strange
feelings, and unusual behavior. It is an uncommon psychiatric
illness in children and is hard to recognize in its early
of children and adolescents with schizophrenia may differ
from that of adults with this illness. Child and adolescent
psychiatrists look for several of the following early warning
signs in youngsters with schizophrenia:
things and hearing voices which are not real (hallucinations),
and eccentric behavior, and/or speech,
or bizarre thoughts and ideas,
television and dreams from reality,
that people are "out to get them," or talking about them,
like a younger child,
anxiety and fearfulness,
television and dreams with reality,
relating to peers, and keeping friends.
and increased isolation,
in personal hygiene
of children with schizophrenia may change slowly over time.
For example, children who used to enjoy relationships with
others may start to become more shy or withdrawn and seem
to be in their own world.
youngsters will begin talking about strange fears and ideas.
They may start to cling to parents or say things which do
not make much sense. These early problems may first be noticed
by the child's school teachers.
is a serious psychiatric illness. The cause of schizophrenia
is not known, however current research suggests that brain
changes, bio-chemical, genetic and environmental factors may
play a role. Early diagnosis and medical treatment are important.
Schizophrenia is a life long disease that can be controlled
but not cured. Children with the problems and symptoms listed
above must have a complete evaluation. Usually these children
need comprehensive treatment plans involving other professionals.
A combination of medication and individual therapy, family
therapy, and specialized programs (school, activities, etc.)
is often necessary. Psychiatric medication can be helpful
for many of the symptoms and problems identified. These medications
require careful monitoring by a child and adolescent psychiatrist.
should ask their family physician or pediatrician to refer
them to a child and adolescent psychiatrist who is specifically
trained and skilled at evaluating, diagnosing, and treating
children with schizophrenia.
information see Facts For Familie's:
#11 The Child With Autism
#21 Psychiatric Medication for Children
#29 Psychiatric Medication Part II: Types
#38 Manic-Depressive Illness in Teens, and
#52 Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluation.
For additional information see Your Child (1998 Harper
Collins)/Your Adolescent (1999 Harper Collins).
#49 Updated 12/00
Family Resources wishes to thank the (AACAP) for giving
us permission to use this article.
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)
represents over 6,900 child and adolescent psychiatrists
who are physicians with at least five years of additional
training beyond medical school in general (adult) and child
and adolescent psychiatry.
for Families© is developed and distributed by the American
Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).
Facts sheets may be reproduced for personal or educational
use without written permission, but cannot be included in
material presented for sale. To order full sets of FFF,
contact Public Information, 1.800.333.7636. Free
distribution of individual Facts sheets is a public service
of the AACAP Special Friends of Children Fund. Please
make a tax deductible contribution to the AACAP Special
Friends of Children Fund and support this important public
outreach. (AACAP, Special Friends of Children Fund, P.O.
Box 96106, Washington, D.C. 20090).