DESCRIPTION"Schizo" means "split," and "phrenia" refers to the mind. So schizophrenia refers to a disorder characterized by disorganization of mind processes. It occurs in about 1 in 10,000 children, 5 times more commonly in boys than girls.
Appropriate health care includes:
Psychiatric consultation and continued treatment if deemed necessary.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSYour child is more concerned with inner thoughts and emotions than with the external world.
The child feels conflicting thoughts and feelings simultaneously.
The child has difficulty in keeping the mind and speech on one topic.
There is severe limitation of emotions, with inappropriate expression.
There are disorders of thought, language, and learning.
There are disorders of perception.
There are disorders of emotions and social relations.
There is poor muscle tone and coordination.
Hallucinations and delusions with some or all of the above equal an active psychosis.
Unknown. Probably genetic.
RISK FACTORSHistory of schizophrenia in the family.
Environmental stress that may trigger episodes of active psychosis.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENone known.
MEDICAL TESTSEvaluation by a university-affiliated developmental evaluation clinic after age 4 or 5. An accurate diagnosis may require a long period of time.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSLife-time disability.
Continuing problems of varying degree throughout the child's life, with interspersed periods of near-normal functioning and active psychosis.
Accept a competent diagnosis of your child's condition.
Discourage the child's concentration on one endless activity.
Forbid the child to disrupt the activities of others.
Challenge and contradict the child's illusions.
Discourage loud talking.
Arrange for your child to have public school education for handicapped children. Federal law mandates its provision.
Work constantly toward the goal of preparing the child to function as well as possible as an adult in society.
None except during severe active psychosis or for severe insomnia.
Your child should live as normal a life as possible.
DIET & FLUIDS
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Under special arrangements.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has signs or symptoms of schizophrenia.
A diagnosis of schizophrenia has been established and hallucinations, delusions, or paranoid feelings develop.