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Schizophrenia, Early Onset

Schizophrenia spectrum disorders are debilitating neurodevelopmental conditions characterized by disruptions in thinking, perception, behavior, and social interactions. The typical age of onset for schizophrenia is between 18 and 25 years; early onset schizophrenia is defined as schizophrenia with onset of symptoms prior to age 18. Childhood onset schizophrenia, an even less common but more debilitating form of the disorder, is defined as the same disorder with onset prior to age 13. All three variants are marked by a series of challenging symptoms, including mood-incongruent hallucinations, bizarre delusions, disorganized or catatonic behaviors, social and functional impairments, and executive dysfunctions. This entry provides a description of the core features of early onset schizophrenia as well as its prevalence, environmental and biological causes, and treatment options.

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