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Symptoms can start showing at childhood. They start on an average at the age of 15 for boys, and might just start at the age of 14 as in my case...though the age of 10 is also when the symptoms can start showing. Very rarely, it can occur at age 5. The symptoms can include violent mood swings, with a different reaction at each moment, aggressive behavior, followed by subdued behavior, social withdrawal, sitting alone and not responding, not replying, not moving...The symptoms may be identified and diagnosed as bipolar (or manic depression), but the diagnoses can be changed in later years to schizoaffective disorder (schizophrenia and mania). The child can be prescribed risperidone before an accurate diagnoses can be made, but riperidone is also prescribed for asperger's and autism, and in rare cases for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)...
Symptoms can be confused with drug misuse, bad company, or teenage rebellion...the important thing is to recognize where the saturation point for teenage problems is, how to distinguish between what should be and what shouldn't be, and make sure that the child is given professional help as soon as possible. If there is no change in the behavior after visiting a counsellor, a psychiatrist is the best option since psychologists tend to diagnose the problem as emotional and not neurobiological, the same way as psychiatrists tend to diagnose the problem as neurobiological and not emotional. Getting the right kind of help depends on the fact that the psychologist or the psychiatrist should have a balanced outlook, considering all possible implications of the problem. Either may be expensive, but may not be the best. Either may be free of cost at a government hospital, but the best in the field...
The symptoms should be recognized as early as possible for effective treatment. Symptoms can include slipping grades, inability to cope up with studies, inability to respond properly (that can be taken as misbehavior), incoherent speech ( saying things by linking words in a way that it doesn't make sense) (thought disorder), feeling emotionally low resulting in loss of interest in daily activities like keeping oneself clean (depression), saying religious quotes with strong emotions in a manner that seems to the person as defiant towards the person, prophesizing things or saying something like "my prophecies can never be wrong, they couldn't have gone wrong!" (grandiose delusions), repeating things, repeatedly saying the same thing, repeatedly performing the same action, such as pacing the floor for hours together, sitting in the same position for hours together without responding, or responding when spoken to (catatonia), saying things that seem untrue and believing it even after he/she is given sufficient proof against it, such as saying that someone is trying to hurt him/her, or eating the food given only after someone else has taken a piece from it (delusion of persecution), saying things like "I can see things that you cannot, I know things that you don't, I can read the secret codes hidden in text, I can read how people are by their actions and reactions (things that seem very natural though eccentric, but the signs of madness (delusions of reference, where he/she is told by someone to look for such things...). I say 'madness' because of how 'normal' people describe it, but you start differntiating sanity and insanity, and you will end up going in circles), running away from home ( due to delusion of persecution that may seem like the inability to adjust with the family according to the generation gap), trying to harm oneself physically, kill oneself (40% of sz people attempt suicide, of which 10% succeed)...
In the end the only thing that matters is whether you were able to overcome your own selfish ego, and whether the love for your child was strong enough to help him/her out no matter what pain and disgrace he/she brought to the family.
And finally I would like to quote the father of existential psychology, Dr. R.D. Laing -
"Madness need not always be breakdown,
It might be breakthrough."
FIGHT!!Posted by puzli at January 8, 2004 04:34 AM