Childhood Psychiatric Disorders May Be Associated With Increased Schizophrenia Risk

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01690Research published recently in Schizophrenia Bulletin suggests being diagnosed with a childhood psychiatric disorder increases the risk of later being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“[K]nowledge about the risk of a subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia following a psychiatric disorder in the childhood and adolescence might lead to earlier diagnosis and interventions, which can possibly lead to a better prognosis for individuals with schizophrenia”, writes study co-author Cecilie Maibin from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

The researchers say that schizophrenia risk is the highest in the year after receipt of a childhood psychiatric diagnosis, but that risk stays notably elevated for more than 5 years after.

The study evaluated 603,348 people born between 1990 and 2000 in Denmark. Of those included in the study, 25,138 individuals were diagnosed with a childhood or adolescent psychiatric disorder. A total of 3,085 participants were diagnosed with schizophrenia, with 1,232 of those also having had a childhood psychiatric disorder.

“This may imply that the early pathways to schizophrenia truly go through child psychiatric disorders or that early signs of schizophrenia can mimic other disorders such as OCD, anxiety, and depression,” noted the authors.

The team also identified other contributing factors such as misdiagnosis, chronic neuroinflammation, or overlapping risk factors, symptoms, and genetics.

However, the authors say, “If shared risk genes are causing this highly elevated risk, these genes must affect many different disorders and not just one, because we found the risk to be elevated following all of the studied childhood psychiatric disorders.”

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