Schizophrenia is a medical illness that affects people from all races, genders and income levels. This disorder makes it hard for a person to tell the difference between the real world and unreal experiences. It also makes it hard for a person to think and act normally. Schizophrenia is not a split personality. It is not caused by growing up in a dysfunctional family nor is it caused by laziness or having a weak moral character. It has a physical cause just like diabetes or heart disease.
Schizophrenia is a common mental illness. Some estimates say that 1% of the population is affected by schizophrenia. The first symptoms usually appear between the ages of 15 and 25, but occasionally, symptoms appear before the age of 12. The behavior of a child with schizophrenia will be different than the behavior of an adult with schizophrenia. If your psychiatrist suspects your child has schizophrenia, he or she will look for the following early warning signs:
Adult onset schizophrenia usually comes on fairly suddenly. Children with the disorder, on the other hand, will show slow, gradual changes in their behavior. Many parents also report that their child with schizophrenia showed signs of being "different" from a very early age.
Medication is the main treatment for schizophrenia. There are many new medications that treat schizophrenia. If the first medication does not help the symptoms, ask your doctor to try another medication. Also, it may take time to adjust the dosage, so be patient. Family therapy and one-to one therapy can also help the family cope with the changes that their family is experiencing as the result of their child’s disorder. Structured education programs can help your child with his daily functioning and he may be eligible for special education services.
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