Christie Mensch, MD, is a psychiatrist with the Wyandot Center in Kansas City. In this position, Dr. Christie Mensch helps support adults as they deal with various issues of mental health, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that typically develops in a person’s early-to-late 20s. Individuals living with schizophrenia can experience an array of symptoms, though significant cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments are all hallmarks of the disorder.
Hallucinations and delusions are two of the most commonly discussed symptoms of schizophrenia. While auditory hallucinations are a standard for the disorder, hallucinations can also involve visual or olfactory elements. Delusions, which affect an estimated 80 percent of individuals with schizophrenia, are much more diverse, but generally involve strong beliefs that have no base in reality. Such delusions can range from schizophrenic individuals believing they have celebrity status to intense paranoia.
Though it is rare for a teenager to develop schizophrenia, it is not impossible. Younger individuals can experience hallucinations and delusions, as well as other symptoms typical of adult schizophrenia, such as irregular speaking patterns and lack of emotion. Visual hallucinations are more prevalent in teens dealing with schizophrenia, while delusions are less frequent.
Guardians and medical professionals must pay close attention to a teenager, as schizophrenia symptoms like withdrawal from social activities and difficulty sleeping are common among most teens, including those without the condition. Both teens and adults living with schizophrenia will experience a lack of awareness regarding their disorder, and so it is often left to family and friends to notice symptoms and reach out for professional support.