It is crucial to diagnose a psychiatric disorder accurately to assign a treatment that would help improve a patient’s condition. The task is especially challenging for children and adolescents as their symptoms can be difficult to distinguish from other diseases. Typically, schizophrenia onsets between the ages of 14 to 35, however, most people are diagnosed before they turn 25 years old (Stevens, Prince, Prager, & Stern, 2014). Thus, it is essential to examine the state of a young person carefully before providing medication from schizophrenia, to identify the disorder in its early stages.
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Diagnosing children and adolescents for schizophrenia is a complex task, as the symptoms can indicate other disorders. Firstly, children typically experience a more significant number of hallucinations that can be connected to schizophrenia than adults. However, it should be noted that according to Stevens et al. (2014) “psychotic symptoms do not necessarily portend the future development of schizophrenia” (p.5). Thus, the psychotic symptoms present in children and adolescents do not always progress into severe disorders.
Both children and adolescents with schizophrenia have indicators of behavior that are more psychotic. For instance, “thought disorder, negative symptomatology (apathy, social isolation), and impulsive aggression” can suggest that a person has schizophrenia and not a bipolar disease (p. 5). The treatment requires choosing an appropriate medication and dose and waiting for an improvement in the child’s condition. Thus, young children may experience symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia, but those may not develop further when they become adolescents.
It is acknowledged by the researchers that the symptoms (such as hallucinations) indicate the possibility of bipolar disease and not schizophrenia. According to Stevens et al. (2014), the case is valid for both children and adolescents. It is essential to distinguish whether a child or an adolescent has a psychiatric or psychotic condition. Argyelan et al. (2014) argue that there is a connection between the two diseases, as “schizophrenia and bipolar disorder share aspects of phenomenology and neurobiology and thus may represent a continuum of disease” (p. 100).
Moreover, the authors conclude that both represent an issue of disconnection in the brain. Thus, when a young person experiences mania and depression, the focus should be directed at treating bipolar disorder. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the difference between the two conditions, as although they have similar nature and symptoms, the treatments and outcomes vary.
Children and adolescents with psychiatric diagnoses often participate in self-harm activities, specifically in self-cutting. According to Hawton et al. (2015), the action occurs repeatedly and often is associated with suicidal intents. The issue is prevalent in children older than 12 and happens more frequently with females aged 12 to 15 years. This can be connected to “depression in young adolescent females, and alcohol consumption and engagement in sexual activity in both genders” (Hawton et al., 2015, p. 6). The research suggests that males are more inclined to self-harm activities in adolescent years.
Psychiatric and physiological factors, among others, contribute to the prevalence of self-harm in children and young people. In particular, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and attention deficit are often associated with self-harm. Currently, no detailed research with a significant number of subjects would suggest an effective intervention directed at solving the problem (Hawton et al., 2015). Thus, self-cutting is associated with a variety of physiatrists and physiological conditions. Females after the age of 15 may cease to participate in the behavior.
Argyelan, M., Ikuta, T., DeRosse, P., Braga, R. J., Burdick, K. E., John, M., … Szeszko, P. R. (2014). Resting-state fMRI connectivity impairment in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 40(1), 100-110. Web.
Hawton, K., Witt, K. G., Salisbury, T. L., Arensman, E., Gunnell, D., Townsend, E., … Hazell, P. (2015). Interventions for self-harm in children and adolescents. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12, 1-105. Web.
Stevens, J. R., Prince, J.B., Prager, L.M., Stern, T. A. (2014). Psychotic disorders in children and adolescents: A primer on contemporary evaluation and management. The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, 16(2), 1-99. Web.