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Do children ever have schizophrenia?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Children can develop schizophrenia. Childhood schizophrenia, also called early onset schizophrenia, has many similar symptoms to adult schizophrenia, including psychotic symptoms and trouble functioning normally. When children have early onset schizophrenia, they may have some of the following symptoms:

• Audio or visual hallucinations in which they see or hear things that others can't see or hear
• A reduced or minimal range of emotions
• Trouble in school and with peers
• Difficulty taking care of one's self
• Strange speech or thought patterns

A child with schizophrenia may become agitated easily. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, while only 1 in 100 people in the United States have schizophrenia, only 1 in 100 people with schizophrenia develop the disease in childhood. For the best chance of recovery, early diagnosis and treatment of childhood schizophrenia is essential.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.