Psychotic Disorders in Children and Teens

Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes seeing or hearing things that are not there (hallucinations) and/or false beliefs about who someone is or what is taking place (delusions). Psychosis may be short-term, intermittent, transient or part of a longer-term condition.

Psychotic disorders are referred to as schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, delusional disorder, catatonia, medication.substance-induced psychotic disorder and psychosis due to a medical condition.

One of the most common types of psychotic disorders is schizophrenia. Onset of schizophrenia usually occurs between the mid- to late-teen to the early 30s. Schizophrenia in school-age children is rare.

Early Signs of Psychosis

Early warning signs of psychosis in adolescents may include:

  • Sudden drop in grades
  • Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
  • Suspiciousness or uneasy feelings toward others
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Spending more and more time alone 
  • Increased sensitivity to sights and/or sounds
  • Mistaking noises for voices
  • Strange new feelings or no feelings at all
  • Trouble organizing thoughts
  • Feeling as if they are dreaming while awake 

*These symptoms may resemble other conditions or problems. Always consult with a provider for a diagnosis.