Annotation: Childhood-onset schizophrenia: clinical and treatment issues


Joan R. Asarnow, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, California 90024, USA; Email:


Background:  In the past 10 years, there has been increased research on childhood-onset schizophrenia and clear advances have been achieved.

Method:  This annotation reviews the recent clinical and treatment literature on childhood-onset schizophrenia.

Results:  There is now strong evidence that the syndrome of childhood-onset schizophrenia exists and there are several similarities between childhood- and later-onset schizophrenia. Schizophrenia in youth can be reliably diagnosed using the same criteria employed with adults, and childhood-onset schizophrenia is predictive of schizophrenia or schizophrenia spectrum disorders in adulthood. Data is accumulating to guide pharmacological treatment strategies, and practice parameters have been developed to guide clinical care.

Conclusions:  Despite significant advances, there remains an urgent need for additional research on treatment and service delivery strategies. Promising work with adults highlights the importance of attending to psychosocial as well as pharmacologic treatment strategies, and the potential value of preventive interventions.