Childhood Schizophrenia Essay

2396 Words Jan 3rd, 2006 10 Pages
Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects millions of people throughout the world. Scientists have begun to understand more and more about the possible causes, predisposing factors, types, and possible treatments for schizophrenia. (Torrey, 1995) It is very rare for schizophrenic symptoms to appear before the age of 12 but it does occur. Recently, there has been a growing interest in childhood schizophrenia. It is less than one-sixtieth as common as the adult-onset type but the characteristics are very similar. Childhood schizophrenia also tends to be harder to treat and to have a worse prognosis than the adult-onset form. (Rapoport, 1997)
Childhood schizophrenia is seen as simply an early version of the adult-disease but it
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Other symptoms reported were the child crying for no reason, living in a world of their own, and ignoring everybody, even the mother. They also giggle and laugh for no apparent reason, but they won't talk. (Cantor, ‘88) As the child gets older, the main symptoms begin to form. These include odd behavior, stereotypes, visual and auditory hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, aggressive outbursts, severe anxiety, and fearfulness. (Sourander, 1997) Once these symptoms begin, they usually come and go for the rest of the person's life. Children living with schizophrenia are usually very paranoid. They often have delusions which are fixed, false beliefs and may be followed by hallucinations that fit their delusions. The child tries to control every move of those around them. (Cantor, 1988) In latency and even in early adolescence, the delusions that are seen in childhood schizophrenia continue to be primarily delusions of identity: for example, an 8-year-old who insisted he was an eggplant for a few weeks (after reading a story in which vegetables were anthropomorphized), a 14-year-old who was convinced he was the Incredible Hulk, another 14-year-old who was convinced she was married to a rock star, and so forth. (Cantor, ‘88) Hallucinations are rare in preschool schizophrenics, yet there is suspicion that they are really there and ongoing. The symptoms are

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