Childhood Schizophrenia

Topic Overview

Schizophrenia in children younger than 15 years of age is rare. Sometimes autism, depression, anxiety, or other conditions are confused with childhood schizophrenia.

In general, the condition develops slowly. The child usually starts by having problems in school, at home, and in social situations. Children with schizophrenia often hear voices and other noises that other people do not hear (auditory hallucinations). They also firmly believe something is true even when there is proof that it is false (delusion). They also may:

  • Stray away from a topic or not make sense during a conversation (disorganized speech).
  • Develop unusual behaviors, such as continually repeat a series of movements.
  • Not be able to show emotion, speak, or start or continue a task without direction.

Childhood schizophrenia does not appear to be related to intelligence, because children with schizophrenia have average intelligence. They usually do not have any other physical illnesses.

Treatment for childhood schizophrenia includes medicine, counseling, and family support.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised August 31, 2012

Last Revised: August 31, 2012

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