Introduction & FAQs
Welcome to the Childhood-onset Schizophrenia Weblog. We add information to this area as we learn it. Check back regularly for new information.
Disclaimer: No information given here is meant to replace consultations with, nor diagnoses by, medical professionals. It is NOT to be construed as medical advice.
Is my child at risk for developing Schizophrenia?
Keep in mind that NO CHILD IS A STATISTIC. NO CHILD IS A DIAGNOSIS, AND NO CHILD IS A PROGNOSIS.
Also, even if your child DOES have Schizophrenia, do not expect all symptoms to match!!!!
early symptoms listed at this site are a composite! For instance - the "low verbal IQ"... this is STATISTICALLY. Although some of our children do have a "low verbal IQ", many of our children do NOT have a "low verbal IQ", and some even test out as "highly gifted" in verbal communication.
It is very likely that Schizophrenia is several diseases all being lumped under one label. There are hereditary components, but some seem more hereditary than others.
Influencing whether or not a person gets Schizophrenia are factors such
as genetics, whether or not the mother got a viral illness or was subjected to extreme psychological trauma (such as surviving a devastating earthquake) during a certain stage of pregnancy, the age of the father (older fathers tend to produce more offspring with Schizophrenia), and even how much oxygen and nutrition the fetus got, which may be part of the reason one of a pair of identical twins will get the illness, and the other will not.
Genetic Chances of YOUR child getting Schizophrenia:
o A person's risk even if no known family member has Schizophrenia is 1%.
(So, look around at your child's school. If there are 500 students at that school, at least 5 of those children will someday develop this disorder.)
o Chances increase for a positive family history for other neurobiological brain disorders such as bipolar disorder, and depression.
o Chances if you or the other parent has it: 13%
o Chances with both you AND the other parent have Schizophrenia: 36%
o Chances if one of YOUR parents (you child's grandparent) has it: 4%
o Chances if a sibling of yours (your child's aunt or uncle) has it: 3%
What should I watch out for?
Early Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Early indications that a person MAY develop Schizophrenia (but do NOT mean the person WILL) include:
Clumsiness or awkward gait as a child.
Delayed early verbal abilities, or low verbal IQ,
Oversensitive or undersensitive to external stimuli such as to sounds, touch, taste, and smells.
Even with older children, watch out for the same things you would watch out for in ANYBODY....
Becoming overly withdrawn from family and peers,
Sleeping too much or sleeping too little,
Frequent "staring into space" spells or episodes of immobility
Excessive pacing & agitation
Hours of "tantrums"
Be aware that some of the above symptom list can also mean the child is under too much stress, suffers anxiety, PTSD, depression, bipolar mood disorder, seizure disorder, thyroid problems, hypothalmic dysfunction, Sensory Integration Disorder (SID), Cushings Disorder, Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS), PANDAS, severe OCD, other neurological conditions, etc. It does not necessarily mean Schizophrenia, but it still should be looked into.
Does my child have Schizophrenia?
Prior to Diagnosis
Before a diagnosis of Schizophrenia, the following neurological and endocrinological exams should have been made:
o 1 to 3 EEGs (Rule out seizure disorders � ie Temporal Lobe seizures
which do NOT cause �convulsions�)
o Brain MRI
o Thyroid function (rule out hypothyroid and hyperthyroid)
o Pituitary function (rule out Cushing's Syndrome and others)
o Full check-up, check for yeast, strep (PANDAS) nutritional eval,
allergy eval, etc.
If all the above test are normal, and all other neurological/endocrinological disorders have been ruled-out, then
(in an ideal world) a psychiatrist would make sure that the symptoms do NOT match that for bipolar disorder, or an autistic-spectrum illness, would treat for any mood disorder, if any is present, and lastly, a diagnosis of Schizophrenia would be made.
There are MANY
early childhood "symptoms" shared between Early Onset Bipolar Disorder (EOBD) and Childhood Onset Schizophrenia(COS). Many kids have Schizoaffective Disorder and important information for both can be found both on Schizophrenia.com, as well as on the CABF
website (Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation) at http://www.bpkids.org
Also, a lot of
useful information about the use of atypicals and mood stabilizers can be found at http://bipolarchild.com
Posted by szadmin at November 16, 2003 07:56 PM