Understanding Adolescent Schizophrenia (13 to 17 years).
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that causes strange or unusual thinking, feelings and behavior. In teens, symptoms may develop slowly and may go unnoticed. They can affect their relationships with family or friends.
ABILIFY is used for the treatment of Schizophrenia in adolescent patients 13 to 17 years of age, as part of a total treatment program.
Some of the most commonly reported symptoms of Schizophrenia are:
- Hallucinations sensing things that others do not sense
- Delusions false beliefs that may become fixed despite evidence to the contrary
- Altered emotions having feelings that don't seem right for what is going on, or having no feelings at all
- Lack of motivation or desire to do the things you used to enjoy doing
- Difficulty staying focused and completing tasks
- Disorganized thinking, speaking, or behavior
Positive symptoms are thoughts, behaviors or perceptions present in a person with mental illness but not in a healthy person. Negative symptoms are thoughts, behaviors or perceptions present in a healthy person that may be diminished or absent in a person with mental illness.
In teens, Schizophrenia may be harder to recognize because it may develop slowly over time. Adolescent Schizophrenia is characterized by more predominant negative symptoms and by fewer positive symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations when compared to adult Schizophrenia. See adult symptoms of Schizophrenia.
A major problem particular to the psychosis of Schizophrenia is that the patient's confused and altered sense of reality may prevent them from accepting that they have an illness at all. It is common for them to become anxious and suspicious of any efforts at treatment and therapy.
The specific cause of Schizophrenia is unknown. It is thought to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, in the brain. Schizophrenia does appear to run in families. Early environment, psychological and social development may play a role. Some recreational and prescription drugs appear to worsen symptoms.
There are no lab tests or brain imaging that can detect Schizophrenia. Schizophreia can be mistaken for other conditions that have similar symptoms. Your teenager’s doctor or therapist must take a thorough history of the patient and your family. The doctor will base his or her diagnosis on symptoms, including symptoms the patient has had in the past, particularly any the patient has experienced over a period of 6 months or longer. Schizophrenia may be harder to recognize in teens due to fewer positive psychotic symptoms (such as hallucinations) in this age group.
Challenges for your teenager
Schizophrenia can impact your teen’s ability to function in different areas, such as at home, school and in social situations. They may have trouble interacting with family members or peers, or act inappropriately. They may also have difficulty concentrating and remembering the things they’re supposed to. And in general, they probably feel misunderstood. It’s important to try and relate to your child and understand the challenges they may be facing. That way, you’ll learn how to handle certain situations better, while helping them to better cope with the things and people around them.
Substance abuse and suicide are serious risks with Schizophrenia, which is one reason why accurate diagnosis is so important. With proper treatment and therapy, the symptoms of Schizophrenia can be managed.
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