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Early Symptoms of Schizophrenia in Teens

The following articles was written by the talented, Wendy Graham freelancer. She contributes to OnlineCollegeGuru.org, a guide to online colleges.

Despite recent efforts to educate the public about schizophrenia, many misconceptions about the disease still persist. Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder that often has its first onset in the late teens or during early adulthood. Its symptoms can be disorienting and even frightening both for the affected person and for those around him or her; typically, the earlier the first onset of symptoms, the more severe the case of schizophrenia is likely to be. More men than women are affected by this chronic mental condition, and men are usually more seriously affected than women on average. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that can reduce symptoms and provide real help for teenagers who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia; by identifying the symptoms of schizophrenia, parents and educators can help teens get the help they need to control their illness.

Teens with schizophrenia often become withdrawn and suspicious, and may even become hostile to those closest to them. The first onset of schizophrenia often produces many of the same symptoms as depression, with loss of interest in daily activities, poor personal hygiene, and forgetfulness; since depression is also a serious mental condition, teens exhibiting these symptoms should be seen by a physician in order to diagnose the cause of their difficulties. Other early symptoms include odd speech patterns or vocalizations and inappropriate laughing or crying without an obvious stimulus. Ironically, the lack of all emotional reaction is also a classic sign of schizophrenia; flatness of affect and reduced facial expressions are often exhibited during the first stages of schizophrenia. Many teens react in an extreme fashion to criticism or comments directed at them, and some may make irrational or nonsensical statements in response to questions. While none of these symptoms is direct evidence of schizophrenia, teens who exhibit a number of these behaviors should be examined by a physician in order to determine if schizophrenia might be the cause.

Classic symptoms of schizophrenia include visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and behavior, and the absence of certain common behaviors present in healthy individuals. Characteristics like slurred speech, strange and unsupported beliefs, an unrealistic level of belief in conspiracy theories, and paranoia are all positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Negative symptoms include the absence of facial expressions, lack of eye contact, severe reduction in frequency of speech and movement, and loss of verbal fluency. Medication can reduce or temper the frequency of some symptoms of schizophrenia, while psychotherapy can help teens deal with the adverse affects of their condition as well. By recognizing the early symptoms of schizophrenia, parents and other adults can help teens get the help they need to control their illness and regain control of their lives.

Comments

Anonymous said…
YOU HAVE BEEN TAGGED WITH A CHALLENGE!!!!

http://myeverydaypain.blogspot.com/2010/02/dear-john.html
bloodred1889 said…
hay my name is jade
i suffer from what is diegnosed now as a personality disorder but i belive i may be schizophrenic, anyway i love reading your blog, i have followed you as i will follow your blog.
Anonymous said…
Hey I am diagnosed schizoeffectove bipolar type I wanted to mention that you can have scent and taste hallucinations as well I thought that maybe readers would like to know that as well well anyway I like your site thanks for your help
Alex Francisco said…
Hello everyone, I'm 17 and have noticed recently that my mind acting a bit weird. I suspected a lot of my actions resembled schizophrenia and now thy I've read this I'm actually very certain I may have it.
Lindsey said…
Hi, I'm Lindsey,I'm 15 years old. I was just recently diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia .I have many fears about once going out and killing people because of the voices I have, They scare me to death, My voices only tell me negative things, I just self harmed the other day because of them, Ive tried to kill myself because of what the voices tell me. I have just recently stopped going to school, and I dont know anyone who has this illness, My mom told me that Im better off trying to find someone on the internet who can help me, It took me 8 years to finally get diagnosed, I was wrongly diagnosed, and I have been threatened to stop making it up by doctors, this is not something id wish on anyone.
Barbara said…
Dear Lindsey,
If you were disgnosed by a psychiatrist s/he should have prescribed some anti-psychotic medication. I am apsychotherapist, and I so sorry you have had such a difficult time. If you have not seen a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who specializes in mental disorders,please try to see one as soon as possible. Also,see the
website for NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, as they have support groups nationwide. Best of Luck to you!
Anonymous said…
As I am reading each of these postings it brings so much compassion to my heart to hear about people living with schizophrenia. I'm really sorry this is happening to all of you. I know it is very difficult and I just want encourage you and let you know you can beat this disorder. I am currently in college for my human services degree and were learning so much about mental illness. My hope is to one day be helping people with mental disorders. I will be praying for all of you. I believe in a higher power JESUS CHRIST and I believe he can do all things if you just trust in him. Be encourage people and know that Jesus loves all of you.
Anonymous said…
Hey teens with schizophrenia,
Don't ever lose hope. I am 41, I have it, and I have had a great life. Sure, it has been challenging, and there have been many ups and downs, but I went to college, got married and had a pretty normal life. This is not the end of the world. There are great people waiting to help you. Trust your therapist and your psychiatrist- they're on your side. Take you're medication. And most of all, I want to tell you that you need to learn to love yourself just the way you are- you are a special person that deserves love. Never never never give up!!!!

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