Mom Doesn't Believe I Might be Schizophrenic

Published: March 31, 2014
Dear TeenHealthFX,

I see and hear things that aren't there, I sob uncontrollably until I can't breathe and lock myself in a room, I don't want to go on like this, I want to be happy, I think I might be schizophrenic, but mom thinks I just want attention, I need help, but how do I tell her?

Dear Mom Doesn't Believe I Might be Schizophrenic,

It would be really import to communicate to your mom besides what you have been experiencing would be to get her to understand how scared and worried you are. Hopefully this will divert her from focusing on the validity of the symptoms and get her to see how much you have been struggling.

While experiencing auditory and/or visual hallucinations are symptoms of Schizophrenia other types of illnesses need to be ruled out before a definitive diagnosis is made.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) has noted that hearing voices or seeing things that are not there may also happen as a result of the following: 

When a youngster is under severe emotional stress

Children coping with the death of a parent or dealing with lots of stressors in their lives will sometimes hear voices or see things.

 Certain physical illnesses

Examples may include migraines, seizures, infections, a very high fever, and problems with the thyroid or adrenal glands.

 Adverse effects of medication

The use of certain medications, such as steroids or pain medicine, can cause hallucinations under rare circumstances. Many other medications can also lead to hallucinations when used in higher doses than prescribed or recommended. Illegal drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and LSD are a frequent cause of hallucinations.

Nonpsychotic psychiatric illnesses

Children who hear voices telling them to do bad things often have behavior problems. Voices that refer to suicide or dying may occur in children who are depressed. The content of a hallucination may help us understand what type of illness a child is having. Children who see things that are not there may be very anxious or depressed.

Psychotic illnesses

This includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder with psychotic features, and bipolar disorder. In addition to hallucinations, psychotic illnesses are characterized by delusions, disorganized and/or bizarre behavior and moods that don't correspond with what is going on in someone's life. Children may show social withdrawal, and inappropriate and unusual use of language. Looking for these symptoms can be very helpful in telling the difference between psychotic and nonpsychotic illnesses.

The most important issue is that you need to be seen by Psychiatrist so that you can begin the evaluation process and get to the cause of the hallucinations. The AACAP has a “Facts for Families” page that you can download and share with your mom when you talk with her.

If you get to the point that you are seriously considering suicide or are afraid of your impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you can also call the crisis hotline from Atlantic Health at 973-540-0100. Outside this area call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area.


Signed: TeenHealthFX