Skip to content

    Schizophrenia Health Center

    Select An Article

    How to Recognize Schizophrenia in Teens

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Schizophrenia can be hard to spot in teens. Sometimes it can be tough to see the difference between ordinary teenage moodiness and signs of more serious illness, although this disease usually begins in late adolescence or young adulthood.

    It helps to know what symptoms to watch for and when you should check with your doctor.

    Recommended Related to Schizophrenia

    What Is Tardive Dyskinesia?

    Tardive dyskinesia is a sometimes-permanent side effect of antipsychotic medications. These drugs are used to treat schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. TD causes stiff, jerky movements of your face and body that you can't control. You might blink your eyes, stick out your tongue, or wave your arms without meaning to do so. Not everyone who takes medicine to treat a mental health problem will get TD. If you do have unusual movements, your doctor can lower the dose or switch you...

    Read the What Is Tardive Dyskinesia? article > >

    What to Look For

    Symptoms in teens can come on gradually over 9 months or more. They can sometimes look like those of other problems such as anxiety or depression.

    Especially at first, symptoms may look like the stuff of typical teen years: bad grades, changing friends, trouble sleeping, or irritability.

    But there are some early warning signs in teens that show up as changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior.

    Changes in Thinking

    • Lack of concentration or being able to follow a train of thought
    • Seeing or hearing things that aren't real (hallucinations)
    • Confusing TV and dreams with reality
    • Strange ideas that may not make sense (for example, thinking that parents are stealing things or that an evil spirit possesses him or her)
    • Paranoia -- thinking that people are after him or talking about him
    • Dwelling unreasonably on the past

    Changes in Emotions

    • Being extremely moody or irritable
    • Angry outbursts
    • Severe fearfulness or anxiety

    Changes in Behavior

    • Unblinking, vacant expression
    • Awkward or unusual movements of the face or body
    • Talking to himself, using odd speech that you can't understand, or making rapid shifts in topics
    • Inappropriate responses, such as laughing during a sad movie
    • Trouble "reading" social cues in others
    • Problems making and keeping friends
    • Becoming more and more isolated
    • Poor personal grooming and self-care
    • Substance abuse
    • Threatening behaviors

    When to Call a Doctor

    If you notice symptoms like these, your teen needs to be checked by a doctor right away. That's especially true if anyone on either side of his family has had schizophrenia

    The doctor will ask your teen questions about his thinking and behavior, do a checkup, and give him blood or urine tests to make sure there isn't another medical condition or drug abuse problem that’s to blame.

    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    vincent van gogh
    Famous faces you may recognize.
    paranoia
    Be aware of these warning signs.
     
    man with blurred face
    The real truth on this condition.
    dreamy psychodelic house and trees
    Types and causes.
     
    depressed woman
    Article
    Mental Health Psychotic Disorders
    Article
     
    Schizophrenia What Increases Your Risk
    Article
    mother and daughter
    Article
     
    boy hiding under blanket
    Article
    male patient with doctor
    Article
     
    introverted girl
    Article
    Recognizing Suicidal Behavior
    Article