Schizophrenia is almost unknown before 7 years of age, and seldom begins before late adolescence. When it occurs in childhood, the onset may be acute or insidious. The whole range of symptoms that characterize schizophrenia in adult life may occur and in both DSM-IV and ICD-10 the criteria for diagnosis in children are the same as those used with adults; there is no separate category of childhood schizophrenia. Before symptoms of schizophrenia appear, many of these children are odd, timid or sensitive and their speech development is delayed. Early diagnosis is difficult, particularly when these no-specific abnormalities precede the characteristic symptoms.
Treatment of Childhood Schizophrenia
Treatment is with antisychotic drugs as in the management of schizophrenia in adults, though appropriate reduction in dosage. The child's educational needs should be met and support given to the family.
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