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Can symptoms of schizophrenia present itself as young as 4 when there is a family history of the disease?

My 4 year old daughter has always been a little more "keyed up" than her older sister. However as Bri gets older her behavior gets less child-like and more odd. Of course she could just be a weird kid and will grow out of it in a few years but sometimes the things she says frighten me. As an example last night she was "play arguing" with my aunt when she told my aunt she was going to cut her throat out, no one talks this way to the kids. Today she found a crucifix that belong to my grandmother and she pointed at Jesus and told me that was her real father and she had to go back to her real father. We aren't very religious, my kids believe in heaven and God but have never been taught anything specific about the church or religion itself. There is a family history on her father's side of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Though like I said I don't know if she's sick or just weirder than normal toddlers.

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Anonymous

Asked by Anonymous at 6:27 PM on Feb. 24, 2010 in Kids' Health

Answers (4)
  • When i did my paper on this I saw a therapist try to diagnose it as young as 5...but i dont think they try to label it until much later. You cant REMOVE a label, once its been diagnosed, thats it!!! So just watch out for more signs....kids are VERY extreme and tend to say whatever comes to mind no matter how strange or outlandish! I wouldnt consider things she said to be onset signs at all....to me it sounds like she heard it some where (they preach on tv on almost every channel every morning)...
    sweetstkissez22

    Answer by sweetstkissez22 at 6:43 PM on Feb. 24, 2010

  • NO.....symptoms of schizophrenia have to be monitored for half a year and these symptoms must be consisce and dominant. According to the DSM IV & V....no child of that age will be assessed for schizophrenia as brains are still developing and maturing. The child is still only an toddler. Yes, I do know what I'm talking about as my major in graduate school is clinical psychiatric studies - particularly specializing in mood disorders which so happen to include schizophrenia. I've had to do much research for my doctorates on this and the answer is no.
    LynnB1

    Answer by LynnB1 at 6:50 PM on Feb. 24, 2010

  • Thats not true..( the 2 other posts) Children as young a 5 can be commited to a Mental Health Unit. If it runs in the family i would get it checked out. But also dont forget the drs. are going to try there hardest to say she has it because they make money off of it. Im a Psychologist, not in the field of mental disorders but i did have to take 200 + hours of classes on this. My PHD is in drug abuse. But still if you dont feel comfortable then get it checked out she might just be hearing it from somewhere and using her imagination. GL
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:04 PM on Feb. 24, 2010

  • I think you could easily see symptoms of the disorder at this age in some children... however I don't think they would make a diagnosis this young. Most people don't have any symptom of schizophrenia until they are in their late teens and early 20's... but I have met a couple of children with the disorder and they had symptoms at a very early age.
    I would talk to your pediatrician about your concerns.... they might be able to at least evaluate to see if there is a concern to continue monitoring or if she just has typical 4 year old behavior.
    AmiJanell

    Answer by AmiJanell at 9:06 AM on Feb. 25, 2010

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