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How is childhood disintegrative disorder linked to schizophrenia?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Childhood disintegrative disorder is now included under Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (edition 5). It can sometimes be mistaken for childhood schizophrenia, and vice versa.

According to the Merck Manuals Online Medical Library, one of the symptoms that can be confused between the two disorders is flat affect. Flat affect means that a person does not display a normal range of emotions. When other children smile and laugh, a child with flat affect will sit there, face unchanged. Childhood disintegrative disorder can usually be identified when children lose control over physical functions and social skills over a period of several years. They may lose their use of language skills altogether. While children with schizophrenia may communicate in odd ways and display flat affect, the loss of physical, social, and emotional skills is not as severe as that found in childhood disintegrative disorder.

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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.