Children do not usually develop schizophrenia. However, in some extreme cases schizophrenia becomes possible at such an early age. Parents usually have difficulties determining this behavioral disorder in their children because the symptoms tend to be very similar to other disorders. Below are some of the most significant childhood schizophrenia symptoms that you should be aware of.
How do you know if your child suffers from schizophrenia?
The symptoms for this disorder are usually clear, especially if they manifest all at once. The first symptom that should raise suspicion is if your child cannot tell fact from fiction. Although many children are likely to believe in invisible entities such as Santa Claus, this symptom manifests when children strongly believe that a fictional character is very real. A good example of this would be when your child strongly believes that a cartoon character is a real person.
Hallucinations are another representative symptom of schizophrenia. When it comes to children, hallucinations usually come in the form of invisible friends. Children with childhood schizophrenia may even talk to their imaginary friends for hours, treating them as real persons.
Paranoia manifests when your children have the impression that somebody is constantly out to get them or to harm them in any way. This is more than having a nightmare about a scary monster they saw in a movie. Children have a very active imagination however, in childhood schizophrenia the fear induced by the ‘evil entity’ is crippling to them.
If you notice that you child is anxious around others and doesn’t want to socialize then this may be another sign of schizophrenia. Sever anxiety also means that you child will have a very hard time adapting to new situations and will constantly be afraid of interacting with other people.
Finally, social isolation should also be a factor or concern. If you notice your child withdrawing from playing with others and being more interested in their imaginary friends then this might also be a clear sign of childhood schizophrenia. Children who suffer from this disorder will often create a shell around them and prefer living in their own imaginary world rather than the real world they live in.
Is your child schizophrenic?
So to sum up, here are the childhood schizophrenia symptoms you should be looking for:
- Unable to tell fact from fiction
- Paranoia (someone is out to get them)
- Extreme anxiousness
- Social isolation
If you notice any of these symptoms in your child then you should quickly consult a specialist to determine whether your child suffers from schizophrenia. Childhood is a very fragile age when your child is very susceptible to different disorders. Make sure you always keep an eye on them and constantly monitor their behavior.
James is a writer and blogger with 5 years experience.