Schizophrenia in Adolescents takes place in adolescents who are a valuable resource of the country's future. Various teenage schizophrenia stories will make your doubt clear about its very much possibility. You should not miss reading this article since you should know that what it looks like in your adolescent child and what can you do to prevent it.
Causes of Schizophrenia in adolescents
Schizophrenia in adolescent statistics shows that the onset of schizophrenia begins at the age of 12 and is very rare in individuals of this age. In addition to it, it is very difficult to understand what it looks like in adolescents in the early phases. The major cause of schizophrenia is the passing on of it through genes. So if an adolescent has a parent suffering from schizophrenia, there are high chances of it occurring to him/her as well. Apart from this, there are also research findings that even if one family member has it, there are chances that other family members are likely to be affected. There are higher chances of the other sibling being affected due to a sibling’s diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Other causes include the changes in brain chemicals. There has also been a particular adverse environment such as a violent household or poor financial conditions due to which it can occur. There are no gender differences in the occurrence of schizophrenia in adolescents. Other physical disorders can also cause it such as Porphyria, SLE, CNS infection or injury, thyroid disorders, autoimmune encephalopathies, and Wilson disease. Studies also show that the intake of drugs such as cannabis or its products that has THC in it can also lead to Schizophrenia in adolescents.
Isn't it as it looks in the case of adults? Well, the major symptoms are the same but there are few minor differences. As a parent, you need to be more aware of the symptoms in adolescent son or daughter as it takes place in them either very suddenly or the changes in them due to the disorder are so slow that it is difficult to diagnose it. They are likely to have severe symptoms. There are changes in their neural structure such as increasing loss of cortical gray matter volume and an increase in the ventricular volume. They are likely to have an intellectual disability, motor abnormalities, or pervasive developmental disorder. There are also various genetic abnormalities present in them.
You need to take them to the doctor if you see them being withdrawn and shy from others. Other symptoms include the talking of the very absurd ideas, irrational fears, and being very clingy to their parents. All other symptoms such as positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and psychotic symptoms are the same. However, they hear more things that don't exist which are also known as auditory hallucinations. They do not experience any difficulty with thoughts and delusions in early adolescence but can experience it in their later life. The abnormalities in their development and intelligence, deteriorating cognition, difficulty in maintaining social relationships are some of the symptoms of schizophrenia in adolescents.
It is very much probable that the symptoms of schizophrenia might be understood as some other mental or physical problem. Understandably, we cannot imagine such a grave disorder happening to our dear daughter or son. But the sooner they receive the diagnosis and adolescent schizophrenia treatment, the better it would be for them. Hence, as their parents, you should be facing the reality rather than running from it and just neglect the changes in their thinking and behavior.
Diagnosis of Schizophrenia in Adolescents
Adolescent schizophrenia diagnosis is done by a mental health professional who deals with the patients in their adolescence as well as childhood. They take into account several factors to prescribe the most appropriate medication and therapy. These include their age, health, and past medical records. Their decision is also based on the type of schizophrenia that they have and how worse their condition is. You must let the doctor know about some fantasy or imagination that they have since their childhood. This is normal in their case and should not be mistakenly diagnosed as hallucinations or delusions. Various other causes of psychotic symptoms such as nutritional deficiencies, endocrine diseases, errors of metabolism, and genetic syndromes should be ruled out during diagnosis of the schizophrenia in adolescents.
It is also significant for you to gain information about the disorder and be aware of their treatment. Medications that are given to them are mood stabilizers such as lithium and antipsychotics. Various therapies can be helpful for individuals suffering from schizophrenia but the mental health professional decides on basis of their personality, whether they know that they have schizophrenia or not, and other traits and characteristics. Some of the therapies are individual and family psychotherapy. Other things that assist in their treatment are self-help groups, support groups, special education, and job training, language, and speech therapy.
Your role as a parent
You need to be kind and supportive. But how can you be so when you think that it is your adolescent son or daughter’s that they have schizophrenia? You need to open your mind and think beyond the stigma surrounding the disorder and the myths about the individuals suffering from schizophrenia. Numerous adolescent schizophrenia studies state that the effectiveness of the medications will be more when there is support from the family caregiver.
Preventing schizophrenia in adolescents
More research is required to understand the exact preventive measures but there are a lot of things that can be done to improve their quality of life once they are diagnosed with schizophrenia. You can encourage them to regularly go to the doctor and therapist. Other than this, as discussed above, they can be provided with treatment as soon as possible.
Hence, this is how the mental disorder of schizophrenia looks in adolescents.