Schizophrenia can complicate the life of anyone who deals with this mental illness. Schizophrenia in teens can be especially challenging but can be treated with the right approach. Zenith Behavioral Health in Phoenix provides a teen residential treatment program that helps adolescent males understand what their schizophrenia is all about and how they can contribute to managing it. We believe every young person deserves a chance to heal to the best of their abilities and guide them to meet that goal.
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that causes disturbing symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. There is no cure for this disease, but it can be managed when a person receives regular treatment for it. There isn’t one specific thing that causes a person to develop schizophrenia. Contributing factors may include genetics, the person’s brain structure, and brain chemistry. If the person experienced complications related to birth, such as premature labor or a lack of oxygen during birth, this also may contribute to the disorder. Episodes may be triggered by stressful circumstances in a person’s life.
A misconception exists that people with schizophrenia have split personalities or are dangerous to be around. In reality, most people with this mental illness do not prove any more violent or dangerous than those who do not have the disease. Someone who does not receive treatment may risk becoming homeless, but most individuals who have schizophrenia live with their families, on their own, or in group home settings.
Diagnosis of schizophrenia typically happens between a person’s late teenage years and early 30s. Schizophrenia in teens can happen, and it may require teen residential treatment to stabilize the patients and help them treat the symptoms effectively. A diagnosis that takes place before the person turns 18 being referred to as early-onset schizophrenia. This mental health disorder affects women and men at about the same rate, but often has an earlier onset in males.
Several types of schizophrenia exist, and they don’t all have the same symptoms. A medical professional will make an evaluation of what kind a person has and what approach is best for their individual case.
A common form of schizophrenia, symptoms include delusions, hallucinations (typically auditory), and difficulty speaking and concentrating. The person may also have poor impulse control. The person may not experience all of the symptoms at the same time.
This type of schizophrenia involves disorganized thinking and disturbances in speech. The person often has a very flat effect or reacts to things with unusual or inappropriate emotions and facial reactions. The individual has trouble with daily tasks like hygiene and taking care of themselves. They may misuse or use made-up words, jump from subject to subject, and repeat themselves. Many people with this type of schizophrenia also pace or walk in circles.
This type occurs when a person is not displaying acute symptoms of their illness. The symptoms may be present for some but are not as intense or prominent. They may still have speech problems, a flat affect, and poor hygiene. The person may also continue to be socially withdrawn and have unusual beliefs.
A person with this type of schizophrenia can be said to act in a catatonic state. This includes someone who does not speak or respond to stimuli. Both their speech and behaviors resemble that of someone who is catatonic. The person may also experience rigid muscles and remain in one position for a long time.
This type includes symptoms applicable to more than one type of schizophrenia. Many different types of symptoms may occur, making it difficult to diagnose the person as having one specific type of schizophrenia.
Several types of signs and symptoms can occur when schizophrenia in teens is present. Some begin early on in the development of the disease while others occur as the teenager becomes an adult.
Early signs and symptoms of schizophrenia in teens include:
Signs and symptoms that may develop as the teenager ages include those similar to ones that adults experience. These include:
Schizophrenia in a teen can be treated through a variety of treatment methods designed to minimize symptoms and educate young people about how to recognize them. While this mental illness cannot be cured, proper treatment from skilled clinicians who understand both the disease and the adolescent mind can make a real difference in a young person’s quality of life.
A teenager with schizophrenia has options when it comes to different types of therapy that aid in controlling their symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) often works well for people dealing with schizophrenia. It helps teenagers cope with any hallucinations or delusions they experience. It also helps them learn to manage the challenges and stress that schizophrenia can create. CBT can also aid in developing social and problem-solving skills. All of these benefits can help reduce the severity of symptoms the young person experiences.
Other therapies that help include family therapy. This allows the family to understand the challenges their loved one faces and helps them make progress. Vocational training helps young people develop skills to help them find and keep jobs. They learn about the interview process, what is expected of them at work, and where their interests can dovetail with a profession.
Group therapy can help teenagers understand how to relate to others and improve their ability to pay attention. Peer support often provides a great opportunity for those who might otherwise be inclined to isolate themselves.
Antipsychotic medications often help improve symptoms of schizophrenia in teenagers and adults. It may take trying a few different kinds to find the right fit for each individual. The prescribing physician will monitor the child for side effects and any need to adjust the dosage or try a new medication.
Antipsychotic medications include:
Additional prescription medications may also provide benefits. These include antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds.
Schizophrenia provides one of the biggest challenges when it comes to mental illness. Still, when treated properly, most people can improve their mental health and set the bar higher for the type of life they’d like to live. When it comes to adolescents, Zenith Behavioral Health in Phoenix understands how to treat this population when they struggle with mental health disorders. Our knowledgeable, compassionate staff knows how to communicate with teenage boys and help them begin to gain better control of their schizophrenia.
If you would like more information about our program for schizophrenia in teens, please visit our admissions page. We make it easy to ask questions and get your son started on getting better.
If you or your loved one are ready to receive help, visit our admissions page to learn about the intake process here at Zenith Behavioral Health. Our team is ready and waiting to help you begin your recovery and take advantage of what life has to offer.