Q:What are early symptoms of childhood schizophrenia?
A:Typically, symptoms of schizophrenia appear in the late teens or early twenties and
appear to be caused by a variety of biological and environmental factors. There
is about a 1% chance of having schizophrenia in the general population and 10%
chance if there are first degree relatives ( parents, siblings) with the disease. Men
and women appear to be affected equally.
Symptoms include sleep problems, social isolation, hyperactivity, hostility, unusual
emotional reactions, extreme moodiness, odd behavior, hallucinations (seeing
things or hearing things that are not there), difficulty relating to peers or keeping
friends. The person’s thinking is markedly confused or paranoid and there can be
severe anxiety and agitation in new situations. A deterioration in personal hygiene
is often seen. Diagnosis depends on a full psychiatric and psychological evalua-
tion and medical exams. MRI and CT scans can also be informative.
Early detection is important since schizophrenia can be controlled but not cured
and early interventions can prevent and/or delay serious symptomatology.