Childhood Schizophrenia Essay

Submitted By alainaacosta
Words: 2156
Pages: 9

Childhood On-Set Schizophrenia

When you think of a child, one of the first things that comes to mind is their innocence, their imagination. Most children have wild, vivid and imaginative minds. To adults that is one of the qualities that makes children so endearing to us, their excitement for the world and sometimes for the world that they create. Children create imaginary friends such as animals, people and objects for different reasons. Some kids use it as a coping mechanism for difficult situations they might be undergoing. Other kids recognize the fact that their invisible friend is not real but still have an imaginary friend to allow them to explore ideas and conquer fears that they might have. In some situations, however, the hallucination and belief of the child that their imaginative companion is truly real can be a warning indicator of something grave, something more than just a child’s creative mind running free. It can be an early indication of childhood schizophrenia, otherwise known as early on-set childhood schizophrenia and/or pediatric schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness in which the person loses touch with reality. “The Schizophrenic Disorders Clinic at the Stanford School of Medicine describes schizophrenia as ‘a thought disorder: a brain disorder that interferes with a person's ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions, and relate to others.’” Nordqvist, C. (2013, October 20). "What Is Schizophrenia?." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/36942. Their perception for what is real and what is not is disoriented, making them disillusioned and withdrawn from the real world. In some patients with the diagnosis, they claim to hear voices that are not really there. In others, they claim that they are being plotted against; making them frantic, paranoid and distressed. In children this can have a profound impact on their behavioral patterns. Experts have found monumental findings within the mental health world. In today’s day and age, there is so much that has been discovered about the brains inner workings. We, for the most part, can sum up the causes and risk factors of most mental health illnesses, yet we still don’t know what causes children to develop early on set schizophrenia. One theory is that it develops in the same way adult schizophrenia does. Another theory is that there could be a problem with the child’s neurotransmitters, contributing to the onset of the disorder. Still, it is unclear as to why it starts so early in some and not others. If this disorder develops for the same reason that it does in adults, then experts might have some answers as to why this illness begins in childhood. Schizophrenia can be caused by exposing a fetus to a virus in the womb, a history of schizophrenia in the family, and/or poor nutrition while in the womb. There are several different symptoms to be weary of when trying to figure out if a child could be suffering from pediatric schizophrenia. In toddlers the symptoms vary from late or unusual crawling, delayed speaking, late walking, and other abnormal motor skills such as rocking or arm flapping. In children, the symptoms of the disorder begin to become more prominent and obvious that there is truly something wrong with the child’s state of mental health. Some of the symptoms include: seeing or hearing things that don't exist (hallucinations), having beliefs not based on reality (delusions), lack of emotion, emotions inappropriate for the situation, social withdrawal, poor school performance, decreased ability to practice self-care, strange eating rituals, incoherent speech, illogical thinking, and/or agitation. Some parents delay seeking medical help/counsel for their child because they attribute these symptoms to just a developmental phase their child is going through and ignore the fact there may be a greater underlying cause for their child’s odd behavior. In other…