Identifying schizophrenia in adolescents is not as easy as naming the illness in adults. The symptoms are very similar between both adults and children, however, children are less likely to experience delusions or formal thought disorders, as these factors typically do not become apparent until adulthood. In this article, we will explore everything we know about adolescent schizophrenia and how to identify this mental health disorder if your child is suffering. 

Early Warning Signs 

When it comes to identifying schizophrenia in your child, recognizing symptoms as early as possible is the key to finding the best treatment plan and helping your adolescent live as normally as possible. As adolescents are often hormonal and go through many mood changes as they grow and develop, keeping a close eye on specific triggers and symptoms will help you know when it’s time to see a doctor. Here are some of the early warning signs to look out for, if you are concerned for your child:

  • Paranoia in familiar circumstances 
  • Severe anxiety or fear in doing daily activities
  • Difficulty doing schoolwork or participating in extracurricular activities 
  • Suddenly becoming irritated and lashing out at others 
  • Slow mental progression, desire to continue acting younger than they are
  • Social withdrawal and difficulty maintaining friendships 
  • Confused thinking and distorted understanding of reality 

When It’s Time To See a Doctor 

If your child has exhibited one or more of the symptoms above, you’ll want to book an appointment to see a professional and have your adolescent evaluated. Typically, psychiatrists will be the ones to diagnose schizophrenia and come up with a treatment plan. Psychiatrists specialize in mental disorders and are able to prescribe medication to help treat a variety of mental health illnesses. So, even if your child doesn’t get diagnosed with schizophrenia, they can still receive treatment for the uncomfortable issues they are experiencing.  

Treatment Plans For Adolescent Schizophrenia 

When it comes to schizophrenia, there is no cure. Instead, your doctor will help you and your child develop a personalized treatment plan that can be used long-term to help manage symptoms so that your adolescent can participate in everyday activities and live a relatively normal life. Your psychiatrist will evaluate each patient on a case-by-case basis, which means no treatment plan is one size fits all. However, we have collected some of the most common treatment plans that may be recommended to you: 

  • Medications such as antipsychotics to reduce the severity of symptoms
  • Support groups 
  • Self-help books or courses
  • Cognitive and behavioral therapy
  • Combination of medication and therapy 
  • Specialized education to help those who suffer learn to cope and complete daily tasks

We hope this article helps you to better understand adolescent schizophrenia and how you can identify this illness if your child is suffering. Remember that NeuroBehavioral Associates is here to support you and your family along your recovery journey. Together, we can help your adolescent live a normal life, despite their individual challenges. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation or for more information.



  1. Schizophrenia Ages 13-18 – The Whole Child