Children who are scared, and ultimately unaware of how to survive in the world in general. Instead Of learning from their adults or superiors they are too far gone in another world they have created themselves. This world is all around them. They see it as if it were really there. They cannot learn or understand what is going on around them and it is not their fault. Their brains are telling them something different that professionals cannot even understand. This is known as Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is most commonly found in adults, but what are the effects when it is found in small chi lilied?
My baby sister is nine years old and has schizophrenia. One minute she will be sitting with us like nothing is wrong and the next minute she is gone, she will be seeing things that are not there, talking to them and laughing at a joke no one else can see or hear. My sister is a brilliant person, she sees the world through her own senses and it is beautiful. She can understand things differently than anyone I have ever met before. It is hard for her to learn though. She cannot fully understand the real world and how to behave while she is in it.
Big bursts of aggression, sadness, and fear all play a big part in her daily life. Because she is so young it is not easy to explain to her what it going on. She just does not fully understand and I fear she never will. She will never be able to function in society alone. Someone will always need to be available to her in fear of how she will or could act at any moment in time. What is Schizophrenia? “Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness. People with this illness have disturbed and disorganized thinking, language, and behavior. They may see, hear, or feel things that aren’t really there.
This disorder usually causes serious problems in day-to-day living” (Iceman). Schizophrenia usually occurs after a teenager goes through puberty. Schizophrenia before the age of thirteen is called childhood-onset schizophrenia since rarely, children as young as five or six show signs of it (Bibles and Weller PhD 149). “Schizophrenia is the term applied to a severe form Of mental disorder that exists in all countries and cultures and is more prevalent than you might think” (Firth and Johnston 1). How does it occur? The onset of schizophrenia is usually sudden.
Most of the time people are not born with it but it develops at some point in their life. “It is very rare for this disorder to begin before age twelve. It usually begins slowly in the early adult years, usually after the age of nineteen. Girls and young women often develop symptoms a few years later than boys and young men. Symptoms usually increase over three to five years. Sometimes schizophrenia begins suddenly over a few weeks” (Iceman). The scary part of this disease is that it can happen out of nowhere. A very normal person could very well develop this disorder after having a very normal and productive life.
There is never the guarantee that it is will or will not happen to you. “Early onset is associated with poorer outcome and higher rates of negative symptoms in adulthood” (CTD. In Brown et al. 97). No one is one hundred percent sure what the cause is of this disorder. Because it can happen at any point in a person’s life and there is no known reason why. Many professionals and scholars have come up with different theories about the cause of the disorder (Iceman). Some theories are absolutely insane and irrelevant but, others do make sense and can be backed up with facts.
For example, “if a child has one parent who is schizophrenic, then the chances of the child developing it are ten times that of other children” (Iceman). So, a child is much more likely to evolve schizophrenia when one or both parents have it. “Schizophrenia is probably caused by a combination of genetics and environment” (Bibles and Weller PhD 149). It is unknown, though, if and when the child will show signs of being schizophrenic, it could show up as a young child or suddenly appear as the adult is maturing. There are so many blind spots in this disorder that are still a mystery to scientists and doctors. Because of the low prevalence rate, little is known about schizophrenia spectrum disorder in youths. Most of what is known about treatment comes from studies of adults. This seems aridly satisfactory considering the vast physiological and psychological differences between adults and youths” (Brown et al. 98). “Schizophrenia is not caused by poor parenting, child abuse, or neglect. However, very poor parenting, chaos and high stress in a child’s life may make the symptoms come sooner and be more severe” (Iceman). If a doctor ever says to you that you caused a friend or family member’s disease it is known that you cannot cause schizophrenia.
But, being a very understanding person and helping this person out will in turn make the disorder easier to handle and could help save the person’s life. It is also proven that schizophrenic-like symptoms can occur through substance abuse. The use of LSI or cocaine can give a person schizophrenia-like symptoms (Iceman). What are the symptoms? There are many symptoms related to schizophrenia. Out of all the symptoms all you need is at least of them to be considered as a schizophrenic. ‘Also, the child must have some evidence Of symptoms for at least six months” (Bibles and Weller PhD 150-151).
Some symptoms include: “behaving in a very disorganized or odd manner such as wearing winter clothing during summer, sitting or lying motionless, changing to topics that eke no sense in conversations, having delusions, having hallucinations, having a very flat, uninvolved mood, neglecting personal hygiene and grooming, or withdrawing from social contact and not speaking to anyone” (Iceman). Some of the delusion may include: paranoid ideas that others are out to get them or ideas that they have some special status, like aliens talking to them (Iceman).
How is it treated? There are many different treatments that can be used to help someone with schizophrenia. The only bad part is, there is no treatment to completely control it. Worse yet, there is very little research done in children since it is so are for a child to develop schizophrenia. Any child that were to be diagnosed would be a Guiana pig in the medicine treatment. “Medicines are the most important part of the treatment. Unfortunately, many of the medicines have not been researched with preteen children and have only limited research with teenagers.
The medicines will usually need to be taken long-term to keep symptoms from coming back” (Iceman). Even while taking the medicine loyally on a daily basis does not mean that someone will not have any symptoms, all the medicine does is decrease the amount of symptoms to try ND make it easier or possible for the child to function in society. Some of the medications used in treating children with schizophrenia are wallpapered, responding, alienation, and/or cleaning (Brown et al. 100). Unfortunately with every little advance there is a setback. All of the medications have serious, life altering side effects.
A serious/minor side effect is weight gain. Some people think it is only minor because a few pounds will not kill us but, it is more serious than that, the weight gain from some of these medications has led children to develop type two diabetes and has in turn killed them (Brown et al. 01). More side effects include; problems with word retrieval, working memory, cognitive dulling, shortened life span, and uncontrollable involuntary movements (Brown et al. 101-102). Schizophrenia is a mind altering disorder, it makes you think and feel differently about the world. Schizophrenia changes the way your child relates to others. It also changes the way your child thinks” (Iceman). Along with medication a therapist or psychologist should also be used. This helps the child learn and understand in a way that as a parent you cannot fully teach them. Having this disorder is very scary and haunting for a child. They are new to the world and are trying to digest that when all of a sudden they are thrown into a totally different world where only they can see. “A therapist or case worker can help your child cope with this illness” (Iceman).
Unfortunately this is not something that can just be fixed with a doctor’s visit. “This is almost always a lifelong disorder. With medicine and good social support, however, most schizophrenics can lead productive lives. Often the symptoms decrease in middle age” (Iceman). At least there is hope for a child that as long as their family and friends stand by them throughout all the rough times. Support is one of the best medicines out there. All the years since schizophrenia has been diagnosed there are no possible tests to detect it all we can do is look for the symptoms and ask a doctor to diagnose it personally (Iceman).
What can I do to help my child? The first thing to do bayou think your child may be showing signs of schizophrenia is get them evaluated by a mental health professional (Iceman). Just like with any other child you want to make sure your child gets an average of seven to nine hours of sleep a night, exercise about twenty minutes a day and eat a healthy diet, this will help your child to stay focused n reality (Iceman). You should also avoid stressful situation, drugs, alcohol, and caffeine, this may make the symptoms worse and aggravate the schizophrenia (Iceman).
If the symptoms continue support groups for the parents and family and therapy for the child is very important, it may seem little but helping the child cope and talking to other families who are going through the same thing really make a difference (Iceman). Childhood schizophrenia is one of the rarest disorders in children. There are so few cases Out there that research is few and far apart. A very famous ease of childhood schizophrenia pertains to a little girl named January. January is a little girl who was diagnosed at a very young age and is a very serious case. “Without medication, she spends ninety-five percent of her waking hours hallucinating – obeying an army of imaginary friends who tell her to hurt herself and other’ (Withering). These friends include a pack of rats who in the past have told her to kill her newborn baby brother (Withering). As stated earlier children with schizophrenia are exceptionally bright. When trying to diagnose January they gave her an IQ exam and she suggested an outstanding one hundred forty-six at the age of two (Withering). She was just three years old when the first voices popped into her head, they would tell her to hurt herself and she did (Withering).
Neither one of January’s parents had schizophrenia nor is there any history of schizophrenia in either family, therefore, doctors cannot pin point how she developed it and at such a young age. Specialists are still unsure if it will get worse with puberty and how she will survive in society (Withering). It is known though that she will never be able to live unsupervised because she is instantly trying to hurt herself and cannot function well enough on her own to prepare meals for herself, or hold a job (Withering). Schizophrenia is a disorder that is so rare even specialists are baffled with each new case that is reviewed.
Children are precious artifacts that need love and security in a world that is not so kind. Having an illness that makes them ultimately unaware of the world around them is scary. They do understand that they are scared and do not know what is going on, but, they cannot seem to figure out why that is. Medication will keep them as much into reality as possible but what does the future hold? What will be the outcome of an adult that was in their own reality since they were a child? Lives for these people are not easy but with support they can thrive.
They may not be able to function alone in society but they will always give us some insight to the simpler things in life. Ninety-nine percent of the time we go through our lives untroubled by problems of reality. It never occurs to us to doubt that the world we perceive through our senses is the real world, the same world we perceived by everyone else. Such certainty is denied the patient with schizophrenia The person who is hallucinating is having perceptual experiences that are not part of the real world as experienced by everyone else.