Types of schizophrenia in childhood

Types of schizophrenia in childhood

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Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects the behavior and perception of reality by the affected person. Can be given personality disturbances, isolation, hallucinations...

It is very rare in children, and very difficult to detect in the early stages. However, in exceptional cases there may be symptoms that make 'suspect' that the disease could develop in the future. The first symptoms may appear from 6 years of age.

Not all schizophrenias are the same, nor do they evolve in the same way. Once the diagnosis has been made, professionals divide them into four:
- Paranoid: It is the most common schizophrenia. It is characterized by a predominance of delusions over the rest of the symptoms, in particular delusions related to persecution or supposed harm from other people or institutions towards the patient. The patient is suspicious, even irritable, avoids company, looks askance, and often does not eat. When asked, he often evasively avoids the answer. Hallucinations can occur, generating great anguish and fear.
- Catatonic: It is much rarer than the previous forms and is characterized by motor disturbances, either persistent immobility for no apparent reason or agitation. A very typical symptom is the so-called automatic obedience, according to which the patient blindly obeys all the simple commands he receives.
- Hebephrenic: It is less frequent, and although false or delusional ideas can also occur, the fundamental thing is the alterations of the mood. This form of schizophrenia usually appears before the paranoid and is much more serious, with a worse response to medication and a slower and negative evolution.
- Indeferenced: This diagnosis is applied to those cases that, being true schizophrenias, do not meet the conditions in any of the above ways. It is usually used as a 'mixed bag' in which those patients that are impossible to define are included.

Treatment of schizophrenic processes it is usually reserved for the psychiatrist. It requires the use of drugs that are difficult to use, both because of their limited effects and the number of adverse reactions they can cause. In general, the aforementioned psychotic symptoms correspond to two large groups:

- 'Positive' or productive symptoms. It refers to behaviors or modes of thought that appeared in the psychotic crisis, in an additive way (new behaviors are added to existing ones). They are mainly delusions and hallucinations. In this case the word "positive" does not have favorable connotations; it simply means that 'something is added or added', and that 'something' (delusions, hallucinations) is not good at all.

- 'Negative' symptoms, or own deterioration: abilities are subtracted appearing signs of dullness or lack. Psychological disturbances, emotional flattening, clumsiness in interpersonal relationships, work futility ... are typical negative symptoms.

Well, basic antipsychotic treatments (neuroleptics, electroshock) tend to act more or less on positive symptoms. But we have nothing to act brilliantly on negatives. Only the use of some specific neuroleptics or antidepressants at low doses can be of help. Their management requires great care, as they can reactivate an acute phase of schizophrenia. Electroshock is reserved for cases of low response to neuroleptics, or for very disorganized conditions with physical risks for the patient (self-injurious behaviors, for example). Its usefulness is limited only to the active phase, and only for positive symptoms.

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