What is Teen Schizophrenia Treatment?
Teen Schizophrenia is the most extreme of the Psychotic Disorders, characterized by chronic delusions and/or hallucinations, which cause irrational thoughts and behavior. The severity of the disease can differ according to the individual, but sometimes can be so encompassing that it prohibits a teen from normal functioning and the ability to live and interact healthily. Such debilitating symptoms can cause great difficulty both in the teen’s life, and family members’ lives, as well.
What It Looks Like
The most prominent attributes of teen Schizophrenia are the delusions and hallucinations which are chronic and often, severe.
These are the beliefs a teen has that are not true, but in which they continue to strongly believe, despite strong evidence to the contrary, or even people proving them wrong completely. The beliefs may be impossible and absurd, such as teens with Schizophrenia believing they’re famous, that they have magic powers, that people are plotting against them, or that a grand conspiracy is at work.
It’s important to note that, as strange and irrational as the delusions may be, the teen is experiencing the thoughts, feelings, fears, and worries related to the delusions, as if they were real. Therefore, many times the delusions will cause a teen a considerable amount of stress, agitation, anxiety, and an urge to withdraw from others.
These are the things a teen with Schizophrenia sees, hears, feels, or smells, that do not exist in reality. Hearing voices is the most common hallucination, and the voices may order the teen to do things, warn them about imagined things, or analyze the teen’s behavior. The second most common form of hallucination is to see people that don’t exist.
These are the distorted ways of thinking a teen with Schizophrenia may exhibit, such as an inability to connect thoughts in a logical way, speaking in a jumbled manner, or suddenly losing train of thought completely, while speaking.
These are the strange, agitated body movements that a teen with Schizophrenia may exhibit. Sometimes this appears as repetitive movements, jerky movements, or extreme, persistent lack of movement.
Other symptoms that teens with schizophrenia may exhibit include, but are not limited to:
- Apathy toward life
- Dull voice, seemingly detached from what he/she is saying
- Inability to engage in activities
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Inability to focus or maintain concentration
- Sudden changes in mood or demeanor
- Inability to make plans or consider the future
- Withdrawal from others
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty in school
- Difficulty with peers
Different Types of Schizophrenia
Disorganized Schizophrenia – Characterized by inability to speak coherently because of disorganized thoughts, emotional instability, and neglect of personal hygiene.
Catatonic Schizophrenia – Characterized by impaired movement, such as contortions of the body of face, mimicking other people’s body movements or behaviors, and awkward movements.
Paranoid Schizophrenia – Characterized by delusions and hallucinations involving people plotting in conspiracy against them, causing the teen to be defensive, moody, irritable, anxious, and untrusting.
Undifferentiated Schizophrenia – Characterized by a teen exhibiting symptoms in more than one of the subtypes.
Teen Schizophrenia Treatment
Teen Schizophrenia treatment involves a holistic treatment, including an array of different approaches. The most successful teen schizophrenia treatment involves a combination of medication and multiple aspects of Talk Therapy.
Antipsychotic medications are prescribed for teens with Schizophrenia in order to help treat and lessen the severity of symptoms related to the delusions and hallucinations that are present. These medications also help a teen to gain the ability to manage their symptoms more successfully, as other treatment approaches are taking effect.
Talk therapy for teens involves multiple aspects, in order to help address the different symptoms, needs, and experiences present. Therapists work with teens to help them recognize their illness and its symptoms, learn to cope with those symptoms, and learn to begin returning and re-engaging in activities and relationships.
Within the scope of behavioral approaches, therapists also teach teens helpful techniques to address any stress or anxiety related with their illness, how to support themselves to succeed, and how to regain a sense of confidence, while disengaging negative thought patterns.
Group therapy and family therapy sessions can also be extremely helpful, for the teen and the family, as Schizophrenia is very difficult for parents and family members as well. Therapists can help to provide a safe, open environment where productive conversations can take place, while addressing the experiences of the teen and the family members, both. This is crucial for the fundamental support necessary in order for the teen to move forward.
Is residential teen treatment necessary?
Ultimately the decisions you make about the treatment your teen needs are up to you, and residential treatment isn’t mandatory. However, we recommend intensive therapy, especially at the beginning of the onset of the illness, for teens with Schizophrenia. This is because residential treatment can maintain close supervision and encompassing support as therapists work with teens to treat the symptoms, provide teens with understanding and support, and prepare them to live life by managing their illness.