Once thought to be extremely rare, juvenile-onset schizophrenia occurs in almost one-third of all persons with schizophrenia. Clinically, adolescents tend to have different, usually poorer, outcomes than adults with schizophrenia, and they respond differently to treatments. Because their age precludes them from functioning independently, adolescents are generally considered more vulnerable, and they require age-appropriate psychosocial interventions. From a scientific perspective, the fact that adolescents appear to have a more severe form of the disease may provide researchers with useful insights into its neurobiology.
Reflecting the substantial advances of the past decade, Juvenile-Onset Schizophrenia brings together leading experts to review state-of-the-art clinical practices and the latest scientific knowledge regarding adolescent schizophrenia. Contributors assess the developmental hypothesis of the disease, examine the relationship between its onset of and neurobiological changes during adolescence, and take into account genetic and other risk factors. Also addressed are comparisons between neurophysiology and structural neuroimaging in adults and juveniles, psychological development during adolescence, early symptoms of the disease, related psychotic disorders, the responses of adolescents to antipsychotic medications, and the role of psychotherapy and families in treating schizophrenia. In a concluding essay, the editors review ethical and methodological issues and discuss avenues for further research.
This comprehensive overview of the phenomenology, epidemiology, pathology, and treatment of juvenile-onset schizophrenia will be useful to clinicians, researchers, and students.