Describe what schizophrenia is in relation to the teenage brain.

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In the adolescent brain, the onset of schizophrenia is called the prodromal period. This is a time where the teenager has already engaged in behavioral patterns that, combined together, form a typical profile of what schizophrenic behavior is. These behaviors are:

  • isolation from friends and family
  • erratic reactions
  • problems with sleep
  • unusual ideas
  • extreme suspicion
  • the imminent feeling of being in danger
  • excessive anger and mood swings
  • hallucinations
  • motor/cognitive anomalies
  • flat affect
  • delusions
  • disconnect

This prodromal period can be alleviated by medical professionals through immediate intervention in a mental institution. However, this disorder is chronic, which means that it will not go away. Hence, the only way to treat it is with a consistent action plan and monitoring.

Schizophrenia develops as a result of genetics, or abnormalities in the chemical reactions of the brain. In some studies, the brains of people with schizophrenia denote less gray matter, larger ventricles, badly-developed brain cells, and overall biological changes. In teenagers these symptoms are even stronger due to their constant hormonal changes, and because they are still developing.

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