Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry


Identifying Psychosis in Children and Adolescents

Psychosis is a serious brain illness in which impaired reasoning and emotions cause a person’s mental state to shift from reality. This could cause hallucinations and delusions. It is believed by some doctors that people are born with probability of getting psychosis.

However, some people may have been born at risk but have never developed psychosis. It can occur in other mental disorders like depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Psychosis can also be drug-induced. It may also result from an accident or brain injury.

Patients with psychotic disorder should get all the help that they need as early as possible. Research shows that the earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the response will be.

Although the diagnosis of symptoms earlier than age 12 is very rare, parents and guardians should catch the early signs of psychosis among their children especially when there is a genetic factor.
Watching for prodomal symptoms is a good start. Prodomal symptoms are early warning signs of psychosis.

These symptoms include:

  • Detaching from family members and friends. Constantly feeling suspicious of others.
  • Change in sleeping patterns and eating habits
  • Loss of interest in hygiene, appearance, even the usual activities.
  • Hearing and seeing things.
  • Overall change in personality and behavior
  • Having a hard time in thinking or talking.
  • High sensitivity to light, noise, smell, and even touch.
  • Unable to accomplish even the simplest task.

Over time, the behavior of children having this illness may change. Psychotic disorder may develop gradually or abruptly. Children and teenagers may express their peculiar thoughts and fears. Those who suffer this illness may begin to describe things running in their head that would not make any sense at all. Some who have positive relationships with family and friends will become off and distant. It is best if parents ask their family physician or pediatrician to refer them to a child and adolescent psychiatrist who is specifically trained and skilled at evaluating, diagnosing, and treating children with psychotic disorder.



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