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Schizophrenia is defined as a chronic disorder where one indulges in abnormal social behavior, perceptions and thought leading to considerable problems with functioning and relationships. The condition can last for six months or more. The disease is caused by problems that arise when the brain is developing as well as the presence of some chemical abnormalities in the brain. The adolescents present with withdrawal symptoms. They start developing unusual emotions that are characterized by paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. To rule out the possible causes of the disease, doctors have to do some test. If diagnosed, one can use antipsychotic drugs to control the symptoms. Additionally, counseling assists the adolescents and family members learn how to deal with the disorder.
Schizophrenia is not commonly seen among children who have not hit adolescence. It starts presenting at mid-adolescence and may also begin at the mid-30s. Nevertheless, it is seen mostly when a person is at the mid-20s. As stated earlier it probably occurs due to chemical abnormalities in the brain. These chemicals hamper the growth of the brain during pregnancy and early childhood. The causes of these abnormalities are not known exactly. What is known is that one can inherit the tendency to develop schizophrenia. Experts also explain that the disorder is not a result of poor parenting or difficulties experienced during childhood.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia.
The symptoms in children and adolescents are similar to those seen among adults. These are hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. The delusions entail false beliefs that lead to false misinterpretations of experiences and perceptions. Paranoia, on the other hand, is indicated by fears that other people plan to harm the patients or even control their thoughts. These symptoms in children start gradually and may become more severe in comparison to adolescents or adults. This is because their thinking is impaired. Adolescents will present with withdrawal symptoms coupled with unusual emotions, paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations.
Diagnosis of Schizophrenia.
The disorder has no specific tests but health professionals have to evaluate the presented symptoms over time. The evaluation is always thorough. To ascertain the disorder, doctors do tests to check for other conditions that present with similar symptoms. An example of the conditions that present with the symptoms are tumors, injuries, brain infections, autoimmune disorders and the use of drugs like corticosteroids and illicit ones. It should be clear that schizophrenia is not caused by poor parenting or any hardships faced when one is a child.
Treatment of Schizophrenia.
The disorder is incurable. The only solution is the control of delusions and hallucinations using antipsychotic drugs. Examples of these drugs are risperidone, quetiapine, olanzapine and haloperidol. The drugs have severe side effects which children are more susceptible to. These side effects are movement disorders, slowed movements, tremors and metabolic syndromes like increases blood fat levels, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Additional support includes social skills training, psychological and education for the child and vocational rehabilitation. Counseling of both the child and the family members is also essential to ensure that they understand how to cope with the disease and its consequences. A referral to a psychiatrist who specializes in managing children is the ideal solution taken by many doctors. When the symptoms in children worsen, they should be hospitalized to ensure that their drug doses are adjusted and they are kept safe.