Childhood schizophrenia Symptoms and causes

Risk factors

Although the precise cause of schizophrenia isn’t known, certain factors seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering schizophrenia, including:

  • Having a family history of schizophrenia
  • Increased immune system activation, such as from inflammation or autoimmune diseases
  • Older age of the father
  • Some pregnancy and birth complications, such as malnutrition or exposure to toxins or viruses that may impact brain development
  • Taking mind-altering (psychoactive or psychoactive) drugs during teen years

Complications

Left untreated, childhood schizophrenia can result in severe emotional, behavioral and health problems. Complications associated with schizophrenia may occur in childhood or later, such as:

  • Suicide, suicide attempts and thoughts of suicide
  • Self-injury
  • Anxiety disorders, panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Abuse of alcohol or other drugs, including tobacco
  • Family conflicts
  • Inability to live independently, attend school or work
  • Social isolation
  • Health and medical problems
  • Being victimized
  • Legal and financial problems, and homelessness
  • Aggressive behavior, although uncommon

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