Childhood Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Last Update on October 15, 2020 : Published on October 6, 2020
Childhood Schizophrenia

Childhood schizophrenia could be described as an uncommon but severe mental disorder amongst kids below the age of 13. These children deal with unusual thoughts and are not able to interpret reality logically. The impairment is related to cognitive thinking, behavior or emotions also leads to hallucinations and delusions.

Schizophrenia in children is similar as it is in adults but the only difference is an early arrival. However, the early arrival of the disease is hard to spot and may leave a deep impact on a child’s mental growth. Schizophrenia also looks like other mental disorders but usually requires a long term treatment for a child’s better development.

Childhood Schizophrenia Symptoms:

Mostly, an individual who goes through schizophrenia goes through a prodromal phase that makes them withdraw from daily life activities and exhibit anxiety amongst their peer group. Although these symptoms alone cannot be measured as signs of childhood schizophrenia, it is always advisable to ask your doctor for more.

Early Signs:

Some of the early signs that could be noticed for detection include

  • Delay in crawling, talking or responding back.
  • Floppy arms and legs
  • Language impairment or delivery delay
  • Slumped posture

Signs During Teenage:

  • Depressed mood
  • Withdrawal from school friends and family members
  • Strange behavior
  • Substance use
  • Sudden drop in the performance in school activities
  • Insomnia

Later Signs:

As a child grows up, the symptoms may get typical and childhood schizophrenia takes different signs.

  • Hallucinations — This symptom involves a person listening or hearing things that do not exist or actually happening.
  • Delusions — Delusions make a person go through false beliefs and such gestures take them away from the reality. Some examples include the feeling that something bad is about to happen or someone will harm you unnecessarily.
  • Abnormal Behavior — The child is not able to perform the assigned tasks and rather shows resistance to instructions. With that, they could even show complete resistance to move from one place to another.
  • Disorganized Thinking — The speech and thinking could be disfigured and a communication gap could be generated. They may not answer your questions appropriately or answers are completely unrelated to the asked question.
  • Physical Changes — Normal functioning of a person could be hampered by childhood schizophrenia. For example, they may not be able to maintain basic hygiene, can’t handle their face expressions or movement of hands/legs and speak in a laggard manner. Poor attention span, eye contact and speech delays are other related signs.

Read More: Famous People And Celebrities With Schizophrenia

Childhood Schizophrenia Causes

The exact reason for childhood schizophrenia is not known yet but it is sure that its development is similar to adult schizophrenia. However, a mix of various reasons could give birth to this mental disorder including:

  • Complications during pregnancy or childbirth
  • Family history of schizophrenia
  • Malnutrition during maternal period
  • Mother’s exposure to certain viruses that are harmful for child’s mental health
  • If mother’s diet included drugs, alcohol or other substance abuse

Childhood Schizophrenia Diagnosis & Treatment

It has to be understood that your psychiatrist may take some time to diagnose the exact condition of the child, a pediatric psychiatrist can help you with the same. When referred to specialists, there is a complete physical exam, mental health test, blood test, imaging test and all the other necessities mentioned by specialists.


According to the diagnosis by your psychotherapist, the child is treated through methods including:

  • Prescribed Medications: Drugs called Neuroleptics that help in managing hallucinations and delusions are given by doctors. When they are prescribed, make sure to ask them about the side effects and other drugs to be avoided during the course.
  • Psychotherapy: Therapies like family group or support group can let your child understand about the disease and various ways to handle it with patience.
  • Skills Training: Some of the special tasks are explained to children by therapists to make them understand about completion of daily activities with ease.

Complications Of Not Taking Treatment

If someone is not attentive enough towards childhood schizophrenia, it may lead to serious health complications like suicidal thoughts, self-harm, depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse or deep depression.

There are chances of serious emotional and behavioral problems that also leads to aggressive behavior, family conflicts, social isolation or higher dependency on others. This is why it is highly recommended that a child must get proper treatment for schizophrenia. It can also be said that there is no cure for childhood schizophrenia but it can be prevented from worsening with timely treatments.

Ask For Help

Connect yourself with an online counselor or therapist when you wish to indulge for a distant treatment. You can drop us your query at and get an appointment from experts. Don’t refrain from asking for help as we are here to help you in the best way possible.

Some General FAQs:-

Q1 What are some symptoms of childhood schizophrenia?

A. Symptoms like trouble in explaining their dreams, clouded thoughts, confused thinking, bizzare thoughts and believing that someone is going to harm them could be seen as signs of childhood schizophrenia.

Q2 Can a bad childhood cause schizophrenia?

A. Reserachers and experts claim that those children who have had rough time during childhood have three times more chances of having schizophrenia.

Q3  How are families affected by schizophrenia?

A. Family members of child with schizophrenia may feel rejected or find other negative symptoms which disturb them to enjoy a regular life.

Q 4. Does treatment of schizophrenia possible without medication?

A. Experts suggest that more than 30 percent of patients with schizophrenia manage without antipsychotic medication even after 10 years of disease. However, the treatment is decided by doctors and one can speak about its requirements personally.

About The Author

Akanksha Soni
Akanksha Soni

Akanksha is an active lifestyle blogger and writer at Calmsage. She has learnt various lessons on happiness and methods to fight depression through 'Gurus' as well as own experiences. An ardent practitioner of Yoga and meditation, she keeps traveling, writes and interacts with people to feel alive.


  1. Akanksha

    This is really helpful.

  2. Mridula

    Children are more vulnerable to other mental health issues as well if go untreated.

  3. Aditi Singh
    Aditi Singh

    Informative article. Thank you for explaining and making a post on this issue.

  4. Akshita

    There is so much that relates to mental health and so is Childhood Schizophrenia. I wasn't even aware of this. Thanks Calm Sage for introducing these terms to us.

  5. Aayushi Kapoor
    Aayushi Kapoor

    Loved the way you have presented the information... keep it up

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On